Thursday, October 8, 2015

PFU: Getting started!

In the first week we had training where we got to meet all of the in-country volunteers, they’re great, we had lots of fun team activities and tasty food! The day after training was Eid al-Adha so we got to explore Ramallah a little bit and get to know all of the UK volunteers much better! We also got brought some traditional Eid sweets by the in-country volunteers, they were delicious! Ramallah itself is a great place to visit, there are lots of places to eat and lots of nice coffee shops, but we all loved the market the most, with its many fruit and vegetables stores, where you can see bread being made fresh,and smell the wonderful spices coming from the spice stores as you walk by, and pop into small stores to eat fresh knafeh and Baklava.

On our first Sunday off we went to visit Jericho with both the in-country and UK volunteers, it was very hot! We got to see the mount of temptation and talk to some really interesting locals and we brought drinks to cool us down from the heat.

Some of the volunteers enjoying a language lesson!
The first week of work at PFU has been really productive. Abbas is really enthusiastic about the projects that are currently running, he has a coffee meeting with us every morning to discuss the last day’s tasks and assign new ones. We are currently doing proposals for funding and policy briefing, these are really important to help further the good work that PFU do! All the volunteers are great! We love having conversations about culture and traditions. The in-country volunteers have been giving us language lessons at the end of each day which are really helpful!

We also enjoy guided learning sessions together where we discuss a variety of topics that are important to us. I’m really looking forwards to seeing the project develop over the next few months and expanding my skills!

In the first week, and as an in-country volunteer, we got the chance to meet all of the UK volunteers and all leaders of the teams. The training that included all of the in-country and the UK volunteers was exciting and fun. The UK volunteers are nice, we did a lot of activities to break the ice. In some activities we were able to understand a little about each other’s cultures, these activities in particular were very interesting. During the last day of training we got to know the volunteers and the project we will be working on better which is the PFU. I think our project is very interesting as we get to know more about the issues facing the agricultural sector in palestine,farmers’ rights and some of their stories through field visits. After Eid Al-Adha we met Abbas at the PFU, he gave us a general idea on what they do, about the agriculture in palestine, and what we will be doing during our placement.

The first week at the PFU was all about planning our work and finding what interests each and everyone of us to distribute the assignments between us. We work mostly in pairs or all together which is more fun and productive.

It has been harder to travel around currently, so we haven’t had the chance to go on field visits yet nor to the olive picking that we were planning to do, but hopefully we’ll be able to in the upcoming weeks.

The Arabic lessons we have at the end of every day are fun and we can see how excited and enthusiastic the UK volunteers are in terms of learning new words . Each day we teach the UK volunteers ten arabic words that they want to learn and they teach us some of the English words used around the UK with different accents.

Ruth and Sawsan

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