“If you want to buy two kilos of bananas in Palestine and you have money only for one, you will receive them for free, if you need a ride, people will stop to drive you wherever you need.” This was the first thing heard in Bethlehem about Palestinian generosity from our host on our first day of Couchsurfing. Having trust issues, at that moment I was thinking that these are exaggerated words and I’ve chosen to observe more the people before taking these words as being true. Besides this suspicious mind of mine, the host told us this statement while we were waiting for a ride home but being tired of expecting, we ended up by taking a taxi.
By writing this article I want to show my gratefulness to all the kind people that helped us during our travel because I realized that I let a part of my soul in Palestine and I brought home with me all the actions of kindness that we received. Palestine is the second Muslim country that I visited, after Turkey, I don’t know if I should connect with the religion or not but I felt really welcomed in both countries. These kinds of experiences make the difference during traveling because are the best memories to share with others back home and these experiences could be inspirational for other travelers too.
First of all, I want to start by saying that Couchsurfing works pretty good in Palestine, we were three girls and we found two hosts and both of them helped us very much and they were open to discuss and answer our questions. I will have another article reserved for Couchsurfing experiences from all the trip, there I will present more details about this way to travel.
In Bethlehem, our host was an English Teacher that was very nice to give us his first floor and the key without being necessary to adapt our schedule to his one. More than this, he offered us a tour in the city, presenting his perspective about the occupation and making us know the main dishes and dessert in Palestine. I felt his care for us from the way he was calling us “Sisters” or “Habibati” and because he was starting each time the conversation with us asking if we are hungry and what we have eaten during the day. He offered us the first falafel in our first evening in Palestine and we ended Couchsurfing in Bethlehem with a nice dinner at a local restaurant with an even better falafel.
We traveled for more than one week in West Bank and we felt safe and nice treated in most of the places visited. Another act of kindness came from a really helpful person that we knew from a common friend and gave us a one day tour Ramalha – Nablus – Jericho with stops in the villages around these cities. To understand how lucky we felt that day, I have to say that we wouldn’t suppose to meet this person because he had some health issues the day before and he wrote us to postpone the meeting. But in Palestine, we didn’t have Internet and most of the times neither wifi so we saw his messages when we arrived to Ramalha. While we were trying to figure out what we’ll suppose to do in Ramalha for one day and to adapt to the new situation, he sent us a message that in 15 minutes will come to meet us. It seemed that we had also a little bit of luck but his kindness and amiability can not be forgotten.
I ended my trip to Palestine by visiting alone a small town Abu Dis very close to East Jerusalem on the other side of the Wall. I needed this experience to have a closing of my traveling in Palestine, I didn’t reach any conclusion about the political situation but I’ve seen the biggest warm heart that literally took me from the street and offered me food and hosting for one night. I totally recommend to be open to travel to small towns and villages in Palestine because you’ll meet simple, kind, hospitable people. They don’t complain, they struggle with their daily life but in the moment that they can give their help, they will do it with an open heart.