Here are more stories from the students I serve at the Evangelical Lutheran School of Hope in Ramallah, Palestine. This is a continuation of my last post "A School of Hope", and will be the final post from my time in Palestine. Throughout the year it has become increasingly important to leave space for these students voices. To listen. Their stories are a testimony of the larger Palestinian story, and will carry with me as I return to the United States.
“My name is Tala I am sixteen years old and I go to the Lutheran school of Hope, where I am in grade 11. I am the oldest child in my family, which not very big- I have three brothers and I haven’t any sisters.
This school year is not easy, it’s a critical year that make me nervous all the time because I must plan for my future like what would I study in the university or where to work and I have a lot of different ideas about what I would like to do.
As a Palestinian girl who doesn’t know freedom, I think a lot about how I can touch this feeling and it’s the main motivation behind the dreams I have for my future. All I know about my future is I hope to help myself and the Palestinian people to feel freedom.
Our dreams are occupied because our land is our hope in life; it’s a source of life for the Palestinian people- whose work depends on planting the land and selling crops.
As a result I see my future includes struggle and hopefully one day the freedom to be like every Palestinian girl- strong and steadfast. It’s the reason why we are still here.”
-Tala, grade 11
“I am Ra’ad, a 14-year-old Palestinian boy living in Ramallah Palestine. My life is met with many challenges as I navigate all the laws imposed on my by the occupation. I would like to study abroad in the field of medicine. I belong to nobody but God. My dream is to live in my own country side-by-side with Israel. This act would bring peace to the Middle East.”
-Ra’ad, grade 9
“I’m a normal citizen named Maen who suffers from the Israeli occupation. I want to become a businessman. I belong to humanity, and I want to provide the opportunity of education to the people in Palestine in order to combat illiteracy. I hope this will provide stronger opportunities for the youth in Palestine.”
-Maen, grade 8
“My name is Rama, and I’m a Palestinian child. I live in Ramallah but I am from Hebron-Yatta, South Palestine. In the future I want to work for the police in Palestine because I love my country and I want to defend the safety of the people here. I want to change the world because everyone deserves to live in a place of peace.”
-Rama, grade 8
“I am nobody,” they tell us. “I am nothing,” when they torture us. I am Majd, a Palestinian boy whose land is being completely erased. This war can be explained by some words: blood, poverty, mind-control, soldiers, prisons, checkpoints, and stones… I wish to become a neurosurgeon to help my people when they are injured in war.”
-Majd, grade 8