Any port in a storm by Duha, Palestine

“I never thought I would become an English teacher,” my mother said.

This story I am going to tell is my mother’s.

I dreamed of being a doctor, I always have. My father told me, “Just pass your Tawjihi exam with a high mark and I will send you to France, to study medicine.” I was a hard worker; I had marks higher than anyone else in my family. It was 1987, exams came, but unfortunately, the first Intifada came with them. Since the West Bank was subjected to the Jordanian Authority back then, even after the beginning of the intifada, the Jordanian ministry of education decided to delay the exams in Palestine.

In the morning of the 28th of December 1987 , I woke up at my friend’s call. Randa told me that it was decided to hold the exam without any delay, and that we had to pass it on that same day. Nothing really can describe how I felt, but anger, fear, and frustration were all there at once.

Even though I took my exam without the adequate preparation, I got a very good mark, but the political situation didn’t allow my family to send me to France. So I should have gone to the  Bethlehem University, but the University had been closed by the Israeli Army just before the intifada began. I had no choice but to wait for the university to open again, and I joined a sewing program hoping for better things to come. A year passed and nothing had changed, so I decided to join Hind Al Husseini College and study English literature as a last resort. During that period I had to stay at my grandparents house in Jerusalem, since traveling back and forth between Jerusalem and Bethlehem everyday wouldn’t have been a wise decision.

When Bethlehem University opened again, I  had already  finished two out of my four study years. Since I wanted to study medicine from the beginning, studying biology in Bethlehem instead was a little bit satisfying. In 1990 I finally started to study at the Bethlehem University. Although, I never left Hind Al Husseini College. One semester passed when I realized that it was too hard to handle two totally different degrees at the same time. “I have to quit one,” I thought.

It was one of the many hard decisions I took in my life, and yes, I decided to quit Bethlehem University and complete my study at Hind Al Husseini College to get my English Literature Bachelor’s Degree.

And here I am now, I completed my master’s degree in English literature, I worked as a teacher before, and now I am an English language supervisor at The Palestinian Ministry of Education.

You will never know what will happen in your life, sometimes the circumstances decide, not you.


This is just one example of the important work produced YaLa’s citizen journalists, a program funded by the European Union’s Peacebuilding Initiative in order to enable young leaders from across the Middle East and North Africa to document and share their experiences of the region.

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