Arava Desert, Israel
I spent a month volunteering in Israel at the Desert Eco Building program. It was the most amazing experience I have ever had. I did the program with four of my friends, which worked out nicely because not only was it our first trip together, but also being there together helped us get used to the place very easily.
A typical day on the project would start with a 7am wake up followed by a four hour work shift beginning at 8am. Our work days were demanding – in the month we were there we almost built a whole hut! We would work the mud with our hands all day long, except on Thursdays when we would clean the guest houses to get them ready for the weekend. We girls also made good use of the mud as mud masks for our faces! It’s very good for the skin…
During our one hour lunch break we would all cook together then continue working again until 4pm. About 5 minutes on foot from our place there is an amazing sofa positioned in the valley, so every day after work we would go sit and watch the sunset.
Because we volunteered in the winter we used the guest house showers but usually, in the warmer months, the volunteers would shower outside in cubicles with no roof! I tried it a few times, it was amazing. Toilets are based on the same idea, at first it feels a bit strange but you get used to it very quickly. Dinner is early but you spend the rest of the night talking, listening, and playing music around the campfires. Nights can be cold in the desert so the campfires become very useful! At night we sleep in tents in the desert.
On the weekends we would go for walks through the desert. The most beautiful experience I had was walking in the desert during the sunset. It was a full moon that day so we weren’t afraid of nightfall as there would still be plenty of light. We had two hours to come back and a thunderstorm had started. At first it was far away but after just 1 hour it was right above us. The moon was hidden by clouds and every few minutes we were lit up by the thunderstorm. It was very scary, but so beautiful at the same time!
The people we met on the program were unique and we learned a lot from Rinat and Yair (our project coordinators). They really love what they do and work with such pleasure.
In the desert, life is so peaceful. I’ll never forget this experience. . . It was a dream come true.