Volunteering at Netiv HaLamed-Heh


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Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District
August 22nd 2009
Published: October 10th 2009
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Once again we were off on another adventure to volunteer again at a kibbutz by the name of Netiv HaLamed-Heh, this was set in the hills about half an hour’s drive from Jerusalem. The group we were to help were a group of four sisters and their husbands (and numerous children). Three of the couples lived in the kibbutz, and all of the sisters in some way were connected to dance. They had been running a dance group called Vertigo and school for seventeen years, based in Jerusalem, with a touring group which they took to the USA yearly as well as putting on shows in various other countries. The kibbutz had at one time been a big chicken/egg producer and just below the village itself there were a group of about 8 huge steel framed chicken sheds, now redundant. The sisters and husbands had decided to try and set up an Eco Art Village. They had started the venture by converting one of the chicken sheds into a fabulous dance studio, with offices, a kitchen and sitting area and several rooms for volunteers and visiting groups of dancers and eco learners.

Alongside the dance studio they were building up a learning centre for groups interested in living in a more Eco friendly way. We had visited Netiv HaLamed-Heh previously with Michelle, when we had spent a few days in Jerusalem. We had then met Daphna and Danny who were the ones who were the backbone of the venture regarding the eco buildings and teachings. They had already set up showers and a water cleaning plant along with the composting toilet block. They had transformed a drab chicken shed into a work of art using mud and straw, reclaimed wood and the likes. The future plan is to have the dance studio, a centre for learning the mud building, grey water systems and Eco living, an Art studio with several small studios for local artists, a healing and treatment centre, living accommodation for visiting groups and volunteers. They had the backing of members of the local council and were trying to get funding, and whilst we were staying they had one of the ministers come on a visit to discuss the plans and viability of the project. Their ideas and vision was admirable and also as far as I can see a huge commitment to a lot of hard work
Backets for the mixBackets for the mixBackets for the mix

1-sand + 1-slit + 1 straw into half a backet mud paste
over the next few years. That said I am looking forward to going back to visit to see what they have achieved, judging by what they have done in two short years I am sure they will succeed in their dreams.

We had a lovely room which was within the dance studio chicken shed and was constructed out of mud and straw, again, luxury compared to some places I have stayed. The day started with mint tea and a chat with everyone, a great girl by the name of Adi was the co-ordinator or the place, a sort of PA to the sisters, she had been volunteering for three years in Germany, so was really interesting to talk to. We then went into the workshop and started working, I was making floor tiles, 280 of them, all by hand and out of mud and straw mix, whilst Ram setting backets filled with soil, sand and slit and was making the mix. These were to be the floor covering for the volunteer rooms. It was fun, mucky work, it may sound as if I had my work cut out, and I did, but I also had time to chill in the local café with an iced coffee every now and then, or with a walk into the village to the shop, or with a quite sit down and a beer. Most evenings we made some supper, shared one night with Adi. Everyone was so friendly and I don’t think could believe that we actually managed to get all the tiles made in the time we were there, but they were very happy and grateful. On the last night Adi informed us that we were all going to have supper together and I was being cooked for. Everyone and their children arrived with pots of scrummy food, a bottle of wine and would you believe a present for me and for Ram, as a thank you for all our hard work, how sweet of them. I am now the proud owner of a multi-tool, very handy, has all I need, a knife, screw driver, cork screw, bottle opener, and pair or plyers….what more do I need!

Again, before I knew it, it was time to head off again. Adi gave us a lift to Hadera and on the way we visited another Eco village - Hava VeAdam. At Hadera we caught a bus back to Haifa. It was sad to leave we had made some good friends, and learnt a few new skills, it is always sad to have to say goodbye.

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22nd December 2009

Volunteer 1985
Me and my wife were volunteers at netiv halamed he in 1985.What a wonerful time we had!!! Looking at the photos of the chicken sheds brings back happy memories. Collecting thousands of eggs per day,chatting to some wonderfull jewish friends(Dovale,Mimi,Effie and many more).We were supposed to stay for 2 months,but ended up staying 6 months!! One of the most memorable times of my life..............Eddie Leeuwner.
14th April 2010

So glad our blog brought back good memories for you, and happy you enjoyed reading it, thanks
15th June 2010

hi
This is beautiful,it is a good idea that i will work on in the future for an art center ,do you have the contacts of the designer ,i will appreciate if i can inquire from them how they did it .
8th July 2010

Hi, There isn't really a single designer - as far as I know - it is a work of number of people renovating and changing use of existing chicken houses. However, the leading persons are Daphna Yalon, an earth artist and Danny who lives there and he is the master builder. Have a look at their website: http://www.eco-artvillage.org/index_eng.asp Maybe try to get to Adi Brief who is I think the administrator there via facebook. Cheers, Ram
15th August 2010

Volunteer 1978
I was a volunteer on this kibbutz in the spring of 1978. I worked mainly in the fruit packing shed and in the orchard. The accommodation was basic but what a beautiful place and wonderful people. The experience was just what I needed at that time in my life. Happy memories which will stay with me always.

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