Follow Up After Returning Home
- Avoid “the bends.” The “bends” is a diving term for surfacing too quickly when your blood is not ready to return to surface pressure. Give yourself time to assimilate your experience before you try to explain it to anyone but your closest family. They’ll forgive your confusion.
- Follow up on any promises you made to people on the trip. Experience has shown that most groups forget when they return home.
- Look for opportunities to speak about your experiences. Don’t try to report on “What Israelis think” or “What Palestinians think.” It is impossible to generalize that way. Tell about the experiences you have had. You are an expert on your own experiences and no one can deny those experiences. Go to “Being a Good Speaker” for help and ideas.
- When you speak be clear about your use of words. Israelis can be Jews, Muslims, Druze or Christians. The word “Palestinian” should never be used as a substitute for “Muslims.” There are Palestinian Christians as well. Israelis are the citizens of today’s state of Israel and Israelite is a biblical term. Orthodox can mean Orthodox Jews or Orthodox Christians, etc.
- Write up your experience for people at your church, your club, your local newspaper, your family, your Christmas list, etc. If there is a local radio or TV station, make yourself available to be interviewed but be careful about generalizing. Send a copy to your denominational Middle East office, mission personnel you have worked with, and people you have met.
- Become part of an ongoing advocacy network. Check with your pastor or denominational Middle East office to suggest ways of joining in advocacy. Additional organizations for advocacy are listed in Resources. In addition, advocate for alternative or more responsible travel among those who you come in contact with.
- Don’t continue to go thirsty for news. You will notice that you aren’t getting as much news as you would like in the North American media. Try reading a newspaper on line. Sign up for some email networks and search the Web for sites which will give you updated information. Subscribe to a magazine or newsletter that will give you other sides to the news. Lists are in the Resources at Home section.
- Continue to read, watch, and listen critically. And then write letters to the editor or station manager when you find material which is unfair, prejudiced, or downright wrong. See Media Watch for contacts. Also write letters to people in power in your government.
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