“After seven weeks of volunteering at simsim I leave Nazareth incredibly grateful for my time here. It is somehow a vibrant and quiet city, perfect if you are looking for something different but relaxing. The work was straightforward (preparing breakfast and rooms, cleaning, checking in guests) and never strenuous. A lot of the time you just need to be present which allows for lots of time to read and hang out. I also genuinely enjoyed getting to know the guests who came through, many of whom had fantastic personalities and stories to share – you will meet many “characters.”
Having studied abroad in Tel Aviv and immersed myself in Palestinian-Israeli history I wanted to return for an extended period of time after graduation. I was initially drawn to Nazareth specifically because of the political history of the city as a Palestinian town that survived 1948 and continues as such today. While it is within Israel’s 1948 borders, you often forget where you are, almost as if you are in another country… If you come here as a volunteer or guest I recommend above all that you take a tour with Journalist Jonathan Cook and talk with locals about politics and Nazareth’s tumultuous relationship with the state.
I also feel inclined to mention some of my personal favourite food and desert places, namely Al-Mokhtar Sweets for Kanafeh, GFK fish, Mario’s Sandwich for a cheap bite, and the various falafel places near Mary’s Well. I often shared meals with the other volunteers and some guests liked to cook food for everyone as well!
On my days off I explored the Galilee, including day trips (or hikes) to the Roman settlement of Tzippori, the towns Tiberias, Capernaum and Taghba on the Sea of Galilee, and Mt. Tabor. It was also easy to head to Tel Aviv and Haifa overnight – everything is a short bus ride away! The city is a great base with which to explore the country and Sami and Silke will help you arrange accommodations all over the place.
I am sure I will be returning to Nazareth one day, hopefully to share what I have discovered with friends and family!”