I had prepared myself for the summer in DC. I had a dorm room reserved for three months, a student willing to learn the Belarusian language, summer courses at Georgetown, and friends who would also be interning in Washington. It didn’t look bad at all! And then I got a phone call, which brought back the dream of traveling to the Middle East and working on something I am so passionate about – women’s rights in the Arab world. What started out as a rather unthinkable undertaking was gradually becoming a reality: I had been selected a Peace Fellow with the Advocacy Project, but at the moment had neither the funds to go nor a return US visa (not being a US citizen surely makes things complicated, exactly how complicated I had yet to discover). Later I received One Small Step grant from Georgetown University, which lifted a financial burden from my shoulders and filled me with optimism. I started to plan my trip, did some research, read about the WATC work, and exchanged emails with my hosts in the Palestinian Territories. Things couldn’t have been more perfect…until I found out that to get in the region I, unlike US citizens, need to apply for an Israeli visa through the Embassy. The only feasible option for me seemed to be flying back home and performing a miracle – receiving two visas (to the US and Israel) in the matter of days.
Tomorrow is the last day of our intense orientation and I leave for Belarus shortly. On a carefully folded piece of paper I have my directions from Tel Aviv to Beitunia village, where I will be living during the summer, but I don’t have a ticket to Tel Aviv. I am enrolled in the fall semester at Georgetown University, but I don’t have a US return visa. However, I have faith and many wonderful people around the world who inspire, help, and support me.
Posted By Tatsiana Hulko
Posted May 22nd, 2007