I’m Malak Bkierat and have been involved with EcoPeace for the last six years. I’m 18 years old from Jerusalem and I’m currently studying English literature at Bethlehem University.
Thursday, 6th April, was one of the best days of my life. I was invited to participate in a three-day camp in Ein Karem with Palestinian, Jordanian, and Israeli girls. The camp was just for women, a fact that I really liked. When I arrived I was amazed to see the beautiful nature of that place. To be in nature, where everything is green, makes the soul feels peaceful. I noticed that other girls at the camp had the same feeling.
I participated in youth camps with Israeli girls before, but this was my first time to be with Jordanian girls, which made the whole experience more pleasing. I consider EcoPeace to be my second family. and I feel that i can be myself when I am with them.
We engaged in many activities, but the activity I enjoyed the most was “role playing”, acting as famous women who really suffered in order to be independent and leaders. Women, such as Rachel Carson, Jane Goodall and Wangari Maathai were environmental leaders and had a positive impact on the environment. It was a great opportunity to gain knowledge about many things that I didn’t know before.
I played the role of Wangari Maathi. I was really nervous at the beginning, but later I felt like a leader who wants the best for her community and who wants to help other women. After we finished this activity, I started to think how difficult it was for Wangari to achieve all of these things without motivation from anyone at the beginning, but then i felt that this is what I really want.
On the last day of the camp we went to the forest to talk about our feelings and about what we can take with us from this experience. Then we were asked to sit by ourselves; everyone had to sit alone and to be aware of the surrounding nature. At that moment I started to notice things that I have never paid attention to before. For instance, I listened to the wind blowing and to the birds singing. I started to think about the impact of human activities on nature
At a deeper level, there is a bond between humans and nature, it is something I felt when I traveled to Japan, it was another camp for women where we learned how to protect nature and how to recycle trash to make it useful, an attempt to create balance between human activities and nature achieving harmony and sustainability.