Share your thoughts, experiences and recommendations about traveling in the Middle East and living in Shatila.
Go through all of the previous guest’s thoughts and recommendations from the real life guestbook in the guesthouse here: Shatila guestbook
6 thoughts on “Guestbook”
My journey to Shatila Refugee Camp began many years ago. At the time I was working in Balatah Refugee Camp of Nablus in the Israeli-Occupied northern West Bank.
A refugee camp that suffered greatly due to the massive reooccupation of the West Bank. As the Jenin massacre occured during Operation Defensive Shield, Israeli forces cracked down
on Nablus city and its adjacent refugee camps, Askar, Balatah and al-Ain. Parts of the attrocities, that can only be described as a massacre went unseen due to massive focus on Jenin and other areas of the West Bank.
And as the tanks, helicopters, APC:s and F-16 attacked the city, only a few of us were preset to document the onslaught. As I arrived in the emd of the onslaught, Balatah Refugee Camp was target for daily attacks.
There amid the smell of blood, the dust and the debris I was constantly thinking about what happened in Shatila and Sabra. I promissed myself to visit the camps in Lebanon as well.
In 2005 I was arrested by Israeli authorities and denied access to Palestine for the upcoming 1o years, due to my involvement in peacefull activities against the occupation and solidarity with the Palesinian people.
By then I had witnessed more violations, killings and injuries than most people in our priviliged western world has witnessed during a lifetime, including myself injured in the chest during an invasion of the old city of Nablus.
As I was held in a tiny cell, humiliated and threatened daily I still felt privileged. I could at leave. Since my denial of entry came into effect I planned to visit as many palestinians as possible with a hope to visit Shatila and its residents.
That dream finally came true last year. As a photographer I travelled directly to SHatila Refugee Camp. I was welcomed by Mr Abu Moujahed, and his wonderful staff at the CYC, Palestinian Centre for Children and Youth that runs a centre for the youth in Shatila and Nahr-el-Bared Camps.
My home for bacame their guest house. A great oppurtunity for internationals to experience the camp and interat with its citizens. I quickly forgot the camera, most times I just interacted with the camp residents. I set up meetings with the Baker, Pharmacist, nurses, political representatives, survivors of the massacre, and enjoyed the time spent with the youth.
Sadly I had to leave, 3 weeks passed quickly. I am sure that I will return. Palestine and all Palestinians, world citizens and friend will allways prompt me to work and fight for freedoom. A freedoom that has been denied for decades.
I warmly recommend evryone to visit Shatila and stay the night at the CYC guesthouse. And undoubtebly upon departure I am sure your tears will fall, just as mine did.
Dear Mahmoud Abbas Abu Moujahed, Manar, Sabah, Marwa and all the staff at CYC, all the children and youth, internationals and camp citizens. I am with you at all times, and our reunification is not a matter of If, its a matter of When.
With love and hugs from Sweden.Your friend, Petros Tenezakis
I stayed in the Guesthouse for about 1 month from March – April. This was my second stay in the Guesthouse, and again, I give both CYC and the Guesthouse my very best recommendations. This time I had the honor of living together with a Syrian, a British and three Italians. Since my last stay, there’s been installed Solar, which means that there is now electricity 24/7 in the Guesthouse 🙂 As always, I was welcomed by the staff and the residents of Shatila, and it was an amazing month of great experiences. When living in Shatila, I recommend that you do all of your shopping in the camp. When buying groceries, falafel or new shoes, one always end up with a new friend and amazing, real-life stories from the residents of Shatila ❤ Freja, Denmark.
I visited my dear friend Freja for a week in October 2014 when she was volunteering in CYC. I stayed with her and some other visitors in the guesthouse and it was a great experience. The staff and people in Shatila in general, are so sweet and generous and make sure that you feel welcome. I was so lucky to join the activity day in CYC and had a lot of fun playing with the kids and staff. I love the city of Beirut and the things I was lucky to see and experience in Libanon. I can only recommend everyone to stay in the guesthouse as you will get to meet all the wonderful people in Shatila. Best, Mette
There is a Persian author that says: the best place in the world is where you have a friend. In Shatila, I definitively made so many good friends. And the guest house was part of it. I stayed there during 45 days in 2015. If you really want to understand the reality in Shatila, the Guest house is the place to be. First, because the director of CYC, Abu Moujahed himself, is an open book of history. He has so many stories to tell about almost 7 decades of a life in exile. In addition, the whole staff is kind and friendly. The location is also good if you need to go to Beirut. You have markets nearby and the guesthouse itself is equipped with things you might need, which was amazing, cause we could make a “cuisine exchange”. I give the best recommendations. In Sha Allah I will come back soon! 🙂
I volunteered in CYC for 3 months in fall 2014, and stayed in the guesthouse from mid October until start December. The guesthouse is fully equipped with whatever one might need, and the staff from CYC took such good care of me. I would recommend anyone staying in the guesthouse to spend at least a couple of days in the centre. The CYC staff are really awesome and the kids full of life, joy and fun. Abu Moujahed is an amazing storyteller, so if you would like to know anything about the last 67 years of forced displacement of the Palestinians, he is the one to go to. I give both CYC and the guesthouse my very best recommendations 🙂 Freja, Denmark
Every time I’ve visited Shatila I’ve had fantastic experiences. Meeting everyone in CYC has been an extrodinary experience and I have been lucky to visit CYC multiple times, as a volunteer firstly and later as a friend. Its been enlightening and very, very fun. Everyone is so welcoming in Shatila and I cannot wait for my next visit! Best, Marie…