By: Shauna Trainor

I went to Lebanon to live and teach in a Palestinian refugee camp to get in touch with the reality of the Palestinian refugee situation, to observe the conditions of the camps, and to further understand the predicament the refugees face. Throughout my stay I increasingly came to realize all that I had to be thankful for; from the rights I enjoy and the personal living space I can afford, to the long hot showers I have and the telephone I couldn’t live without.

Coming home brings on this sense of guilt that is hard to explain. I came home to an apartment the size of some people’s entire living space in the camp and it is equipped with everything that I could possibly need. There’s electricity all the time, clean water flowing from the taps, and I have a phone and internet line for my own personal use. People in the camp could only dream of the luxury that I live in.

Now it is time for us volunteers to figure out what we can do to help the Palestinian refugees reach their own sense of luxury, to help them get the attention they deserve so that they can get the rights that they are entitled to.

The only problem is there are so many hurdles to overcome, so many people to inform that the question remains as to whether we can help. I am starting to realize that cynicism is just part of the game. It is something we all partake in to deal with the problems of our world and the issues that seem so out of reach.

How could we really make a difference? Well it is hard to say what each individual is capable of doing to help, but we have to remember to speak out and remain politically and socially active.

Words can be very powerful and might be all that some people have since not all of us can or will travel to far off places to help, and not all of us will join the protests or the marches, but we all have to be willing to do something to get peoples attention. If we don’t, nothing will change.

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