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Kathleen Bouzis, a University of Wyoming senior from Elkhorn, Neb., worked to improve the lives of residents along Jerusalem’s West Bank, where she served a humanitarian-focused internship last summer.
The internship’s main purpose was poverty alleviation, she says. Staying in a remote town where drinking water must be shipped in, Bouzis soon learned of the dire health concerns faced by the area’s residents.
By teaching farming and cultivation techniques, she helped the natives learn how to cultivate small gardens for fresh crops. They also learned beekeeping and small livestock husbandry. Bouzis says the local people have adapted and used the new techniques for other community projects.
Her UW education in Palestinian and Islamic history, in addition to three years of Arabic language classes, allowed her to make a stronger connection with the Palestinian people.
“People are much friendlier if they see you have a base of knowledge instead of waltzing in like you know everything,” says Bouzis.
Bouzis lived with a Palestinian family Mondays through Thursdays. She dined with them during breaking of the fast for the holiday Ramadan, participating in the massive feast celebrating the end of the religious fasting period.