By Ilana and Josh
Thursday began in its usual way, ulpan class with some practical gardening with Adam. We then had an interesting discussion with Michael Livny about Tikkun Olam and how we as individuals can incorporate these ideas into our daily lives back at home.
Shabbat was a highlight for many as went to our host families for a lovely hot meal, after a day of relaxing and watching movies.
Our week commenced with a session about composting worms, in which we were able to look at the worms Lotan uses to compost a lot of its food scraps. Later, we continued to work on our Hebrew in Ulpan and made a delicious meal for the whole kibbutz. This was followed by a relaxing Kundalini yoga session with Debbie; this gave us a chance to prepare our minds for the week ahead and the prospect of leaving Lotan. It was a nice juxtaposition to the usual manual activities or lectures, giving us a chance to have a giggle and a stretch as a group.
Monday morning saw us completing the mud wall we have been building for the kindergarten over our time on Lotan. It was really nice to see this project through, from slapping mud mixed with straw onto a thin wall, to adding the oil coat to waterproof the structure. This has been extremely rewarding as we have been able to give something permanent to the kibbutz while having hours of fun and mud fights over the past weeks.
This week Adam taught us about how to build a basic dome structure, like the ones we have been living in this month. This culminated in us building a model dome out of wooden poles and screws. He also taught us how to use taboonim (fire ovens) so that we could make homemade bread – some turned out to be delicious while others were not so great. We walked away from this with key cooking skills and a pile of flour-covered laundry to do!
A peula about Israeli politics gave us all a base line understanding of the country we are living in, and an appreciation circle with Mark brought us all together into a space where we could process our time here and think about how much we have bonded as a group so far.
This week we learnt from one of our key educators, Alex about the Wadi El Naam project. This project was to build a medical centre in a Bedouin community within the Negev, with the help of Lotan members to make the project environmentally friendly. This was extremely interesting as we learnt about the Bedouin culture and how different groups of people reacted to the medical centre. The women were less keen on this project as it meant that they would no longer get the chance to be driven into bigger towns for some rest bite from daily life and instead they would have to walk up to 2km with their sick children to reach this new clinic. Unfortunately after many years of renovations and various nurses coming and going, the clinic has been vandalised and abandoned. From this talk we learnt many things including the fact that whilst a project may seem extremely beneficial in theory, cultural differences could lead the project to premature failure.
Once again this Wednesday we headed over to the date fields to spend some time forming the cut branches into rows for tractors to chop up finely to use as part of the fertilisation process for the trees. Whilst this job is monotonous, we make our own fun in the fields. This week we were particularly entertained by a group of donkeys in the area! And we used this opportunity to take a half hour break to have a mini photo-shoot with them in search of a profile picture worthy shot. But it’s not all fun and games, we actually worked so hard we ended up finishing early. So we were able to take a ride on the crane which is used to reach the very top of the date trees. Whilst flying high above the date trees, we were able to see all of Lotan and even farther away to some other kibbutzim!
It’s been another great week for Shnat Nof. We will be sad to say goodbye to the amazing Lotan but we are looking forward to moving on to Ma’alot and continuing to make memories and experience new things as our year continues.