Monday 15 September 2014

"You're going there?!"

To get myself and the other new recruits blogging, we’ve been asked to write about how each one of us feels about going to Palestine.

The first thing that comes to mind is excitement really. Getting to spend three months in Palestine, completely immersed in a different way of life and culture, is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that simply cannot be passed up. As someone who takes great interest in politics and plans to spend their working life in international development, this voluntary programme in the West Bank presents an opportunity for me to experience first-hand, one of the most pressing problems the world faces today. 

Secondly, is the feeling that no matter how small the positive impact is that you make — whether it be new friendships or the ability to understand a different way of life — only something good can happen from our work. I know from previous experience what it means to volunteer away for a long period of time, and it’s guaranteed that by the time late December is upon us I will have made some great friends, and (fingers crossed), helped build upon the work and relationships that CADFA has already created. 

To finish this off, many of my friends and family have asked me whether I’m concerned or not about travelling to such a place. Well, I’d like to say no. Due to the media frenzy surrounding the uprising of ISIS/ISIL/IS, people seem to think that I’m in danger of this despicable group. This just doesn’t worry me because people shouldn’t take things out of context. Yes, I’ll be in the Middle East and yes, I’ll be based relatively near to Syria — and by extension Iraq — but there is no danger of this threat coming to the West Bank… Israel isn’t America’s biggest recipient of foreign assistance for no reason, they have the 11th most powerful military in the entire world. But I guess this only just backs up the need to challenge western perceptions of places like the Middle East, where geography and Daily Mail headlines take precedence over context and actual facts. 

To get back on point, I feel exhilarated and enthusiastic about venturing to Palestine… Saturday can’t come quick enough.

Rob Barker. 
(I also have my own blog up and running at

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