During the past weekend, I took my dance class along with Ashwini and her Art and Empowerment class to Banana Land, an amusement park in Jericho. During the trip from Nablus to Jericho, my volunteers kept the girls entertained and engaged on the bus by singing songs together. Once we arrived in Banana Land, Ashwini and I had both classes eat lunch and play games together in order to get to know each other, with the hope that the girls would bond over their shared interest in the arts and that the young adolescent girls from Ashwini’s class would take on a mentoring role for some of the younger girls in my class.
Thanks to the unseasonably warm weather in Jericho, most of the girls seized the opportunity to spend a good part of the afternoon splashing about in the swimming pool. Swimming was the highlight of the field trip for 11-year-old Jumana and 8-year old Asma’, as I suspect it was for many of the other girls who came with us to Banana Land. However, when I asked another student of mine, Labeeba, about her favorite aspect of the trip, she struggled to pick just one. “Everything!” she ended up pronouncing with a smile.
Following our weekend getaway to Jericho, the girls who attended the next class came back to TYO with increased focus and energy. We recently finished learning a half-minute hip hop dance routine in class, and my five classroom volunteers and I are now helping the girls to rehearse for an end-of-the-semester dance performance. In Jumana and Labeeba’s opinion, hip hop is the best part of dance class. Thanks to the hard work and determination that my most dedicated students bring to class each week, their passion for learning new forms of dance is really starting to shine through in their dancing!
Julie is an intern at TYO Nablus.
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