Teaching English Classes at BBC - the experience of a volunteer

What better way to meet the people of Bethlehem than to live amongst them for a season, and to teach English? Carolyn and I had heard so many scary stories about life in the Occupied West Bank. Would we be safe? What exactly would we do when we arrived? To our surprise we were blown away by the hospitality and friendliness of the locals. They almost go out of their way to make you feel at home. Frequently cars stop in the middle of the street to let you walk across a busy road and drivers wave warmly.

Adults from the business community and senior high school students attended classes to improve their English. Even a blind student from a nearby village came to develop his basic knowledge of the language. Students formed new friendships and it was good to see them expressing their dreams and aspirations in life, with many giggles and much laughter along the way! The classes provided an opportunity for students to bond and enabled them to channel their frustrations, stemming from their difficult living conditions, into creative writing.

The course concluded with an eventful graduation night in the College cafeteria. The evening commenced with young Mahmoud who is blind, singing the Alphabet song in English, then performing a special Arabic song to honor his mother. This was followed by the presentation of the certificates to the students by the former President of BBC, Dr. Bishara Awad. The pleasant evening ended by students exchanging details in the hope of continuing their established friendships. What started off as an unknown adventure ended in a blessed time with lifelong companions.  Bethlehem will always be in our hearts.