Volunteering at Ein Karem

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August 10th 2009
Published: October 10th 2009
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We set off again in the direction of Jerusalem. Through Helpx we had been in contact via email with a group of people who had formed their own little community and were running it in an Eco friendly way and were in need of help.

We bussed to Jerusalem and then caught another bus out to the outskirts of the city, a really sweet little village called Ein Karem. We then had to walk about a kilometre to the place we were to be helping. It was a piece of land that was terraced and the group of people living there had set up Yurts, Tepee’s, a huge ex-army tent and built a mud and straw house. They had also built a composting toilet and a really neat shower.

When we arrived everyone there was frantically working hard at creating puppets. Not just little ones, but huge, life size and bigger made from carved foam, they were incredible, some so lifelike that they made me jump if I saw them in a place I was not expecting to see them. I have to say at this point that the people I was there to help were an eclectic bunch
Mama TerrasaMama TerrasaMama Terrasa

The main tent
consisting of the puppet maker/puppeteer, a dancer and a musician (saxophone). They were all preparing for a big theatrical/puppet event that was being held in Holon, a town near Tel Aviv.

We were shown to our quarters, which compared to many, were luxury, a really cute little mud house, with windows each side for the breeze, the roof was canvas (another ex-army tent), it had a stove for the winter, it really was very cosy and friendly.

As the guys were so busy, we just asked for a list of the sort of things they may like to have done, and got on with the tasks in hand, shading the vegetables. Sorting out the wood/recycle pile, building a small wall and flower/veg bed, weeding and making ready another vegetable bed. Building a hen house, that sort of things. There was also a bit of cooking required, again vegetarian, god I was starting to dream of a good juicy bit of bacon! There was another volunteer working with the group. He was a young lad from near Inverness who had just taken a ticket to Tel Aviv and looked for work, quite brave at only just 18. It was nice to have someone who spoke the same language (well nearly) to talk with and he was a really nice guy. On one of the days there we took a hike to a nearby village named Sataf (only about 3hrs walk). This was lovely as I went via the centre of Ein Karem so was able to see the ‘Well of Mary’ this is where Mary had a vision from the angel. We also walked up to the Church of the Visitation, a really lovely church with beautiful paintings. On my walk I was also able to see the gleaming Russian church with its turrets of gold leaf which shimmered in the sunlight. We walked down through the woods, past dried up river beds, along dried out tracks, it was hot and very dry, then as we turned a corner up on the hill was an oasis of greenery, high up with neat terraces of vines and vegetation. This was Sataf the village we were coming to see. Up a tough climb of steps to view the well tended vegetable terraces, the water source flowing from high above into man made caverns and pools, here some local school children were enjoying splashing and playing under the watchful eye of their teacher. Sataf is where the remains of a 4,000 BCE Chalcolithic village with some of the oldest agricultural traces in the region as well as the remains of a pre-1948 Arab village are clearly visible. Two springs, Ein Sataf and Ein Bikura flow into the Sorek riverbed, below. We climbed right to the top of the hillside to see the view from above, it was well worth the hard work.

Our time quickly drew to an end, we managed to complete the tasks on the job list, even the chicken run! Eran, Jeremy and Sarah were really pleased, we were fairly tired, it is hard work working without any real shade or breeze in such high temperatures and before I knew it we were again on the Haifa bound bus, asleep again.


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