The view was breathtaking. The mulberries picked from the tree tasted sweet in our mouths. We stood peering out from the Keshet Cave walk and we were excited. As we walked together and picked berries, the taller members of the group helping those of us unable to reach, we began our journey. On arrival at the beautiful Nes Ammim Hostel we could feel the presence of the community which has shrived to integrate it’s aims of encounter, hospitality, learning and dialogue into it’s everyday experience.
The first challenge, working as team. Given only the basic ingredients and a time frame the youth in small groups had to create the tastiest chocolate balls. What ensued was a mixture of chaos, excitement and determination. Groups were marked on team work, presentation, taste and clean up. It was hard choice but their could only be one winning group. The first evening of shared experiences prepared us for a weekend of tough topics and hard conversations.
Volunteers from Nes Ammim talked to the group about the center and shared their personal history and experiences in relation to the conflict. Youth and advisers contributed to the discussion by way of how and why they became involved with K4P and why they continue. The youth spoke about their desire to “know” the other and to build a future different from the present they inherited. They spoke of the challenges and opportunities afforded to them by being active participants in such a community. This sharing led into the activities beautifully as the youth were reminded of their reasons for being involved and so met the challenging topics with openness and a desire to learn from each other.
Racism, discrimination; what do these words mean, how are they related to me, to my life, am I guilty of using them, of purporting them. Through a number of activities and dialogues these issues were explored and the youth spoke in depth of their own experiences of their own understanding and confusion in response to these terms. As the seminar continued the topics became more nuanced and specific and in the closing summary each youth contributed their final thoughts and hopes in relation to the topic.
The seminar was not focused on right and wrong but on bringing an awareness to our thoughts and our actions, as leaders in the movement towards peace we must challenge ourselves and our peers to meet the standards we set for living a life together, in all that that encompasses.