A couple of updates from this weekend (Israeli weekend = Friday and Saturday) and today:
On Friday, five of us GAs went down to Eilat for a day of fun. We walked out to the bus stop and found a police officer had set up a random checkpoint for motorists. One such driver went through all the process and then scooted her car forward and offered to drive 3 of us down to the city – awesome! She was a Russian immigrant who was very talkative. Although she knew English, her and Tal had a conversation I didn’t understand one bit of all the way down to the city.
Once there, we walked around the board walk, did a little shopping, ate some great food and enjoyed the beach. Then on the way back we decided we would all hitch hike again. It didn’t take long this time, maybe 20 minutes?
This weekend also marked the 29th birthday of Kibbutz Lotan! The community worked on gardening in the front entrance and had great meals both Friday and Saturday nights. The youth put on a play and made a few funny videos. It was really great seeing everyone celebrate being a community. It is hard to describe in a way but I know it is very different from a national holiday like independence day… this is like your favorite family members birthday combined with … I’m not sure, something.
Today I had an amazing Hebrew lesson at the next kibbutz south of here. I’m probably going to post something in Hebrew later but I have to go start class now.
Also, I hate my iPod right now – I can’t figure how to upload all of the photos at once. I uploaded them all before but then I tried to delete them off the iPod and it didn’t work so I deleted them off my computer. Now I can’t re-download the original few hundred as well as all the new ones.
A kibbutz birthday is coming …
Today we created three garden beds from sheet mulch. The basics of which you can do anywhere:
First, you want to aerate the ground you are going to mulch on top of. Even if you have poor quality soil, breaking it up will help any roots that might be able to reach down there and help any good bugs (worms) get up into your garden bed.
Second, put down an insulating layer of carbon (think: any material you WOULD want to jump on/in after it sits for a week – dry leaves, hay, saw dust). Make sure it is thick enough for water to drain into if your soil won’t allow that.
The next few steps repeat themselves:
Make equal layers of nitrogen (think: anything you would NOT want to jump in after a week – green garden waste, manure, food waste, pee pee) and then carbon.
To finish this lasagna off, add one more thick layer of carbon. This isn’t exactly supposed to compost and break down right away – this layer is to insulate the lower layers and keep bugs from laying eggs.
I really enjoyed this paragraph at the end of a piece we read for class today:
As it turns out, and as I have always suspected, cars directly and indirectly kill and maim many more people than cigarettes, yet it is car owners who point the finger at smokers! Such is hypocrisy. Can petrol be classified as a dangerous drug? Are drivers all guilty of homicide? Are cars an addiction? Does a bear copulate in the woods?
From Travel In Dreams – Bill Mollison – An Autobiography
I really just don’t feel like writing. But life on the Kibbutz is still interesting. I’ve settled in and have classes that I enjoy more than others (nice way of putting it, yes?). I think what I’m enjoying most right now are the one-on-one conversations I’ve been having with a few people here on the kibbutz and in the program. Two people in particular.
One person has completely forced me to think through a half baked plan I was toying with. I was really considering staying in Israel after my program and making aliyah (immigration) just before my scheduled flight. But after a long conversation I realized I need to return to the states before making such a big decision.
The other person … is fascinating. But that word doesn’t do our conversations justice. And I can’t even really give a proper recap of said convos. It is just really nice to know that there are other people in this world that are genuine and real. People full of ups and downs, good advice and the knowledge of when to just sit quietly.
Anywho, not much else to report. Other than my severe lack of letters and/or chocolate. *cough cough* My address is posted back on one of the first posts…..
Shalom from Kibbutz Lotan! I have arrived in the Arava desert on Israel’s Eastern border with Jordan. The kibbutz I’ll spend five months on is a communal collective kibbutz: almost all meals are in a central dining hall, all income is shared, and life is beautiful. The program I’m on (Green Apprenticeship), and the kibbutz as a whole, focuses on the environment and restoring humans to a less destructive force in nature. We are learning how to reconnect with nature on a more substantial way than just taking a walk in a park (which is a great first step by the way). The program also incorporates practical techniques for building and living in the “real world” as well as Jewish history and weekly Hebrew lessons.
My classes so far have consisted of: gardening and growing our own food, creating structures with mud and repurposed materials (ie, old tires, and ‘trash’), permaculture, weekly parashat discussions, building design theory using natural materials and utilizing natural elements (solar heating for example), Hebrew and a few I’m forgetting I’m sure. The courses are taught in a great balance of classroom time, real world examples/outdoor time, and practical implementation. For example, one of our first courses was on building with mud and now we are helping the kibbutz by building a wall and bench out of mud and trash.
Life for me on the kibbutz is refreshing. We interact with our instructors on a constant basis – in class, during meals, on the weekends, during free time. It creates a more open line of communication than in traditional learning circles. I am constantly amazed at how the quality of life here is so high. People here don’t worry about their kids the way parents in the ‘States do because the entire community looks out for all of the children. There is an aura of calmness here – even when the bombs were exploding in Be’er Sheva life on the kibbutz was secure. That is not to say that the kibbutznics are not well educated and well informed people – we are not talking about the yokels of some town in the middle of no where that you wouldn’t want to run out of gas in. The kibbutznics (even the children) read the paper daily and are completely aware of Israeli and world life. But the people here have decided to carve out their own utopia . They operate, in my observation, under the principle and belief that if we all work hard and work together, life will be grand and life will be beautiful. And it is.
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