Archives For USAID West Bank/ Gaza

Today’s activities were soothing for both the soul and the environment.

The seventh graders started off the day with a relaxing bike ride through Kibbutz Ketura and the nearby date fields.

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After pool time, the kids geared up for a field trip to Lotan, a nearby eco-kibbutz. Their tour guide, Mark taught the kids that the prefix “eco” comes from the ancient Greek word “oikos,” which means home. The idea of eco-projects are to take care of not only our individual family homes, but also the earth, the home we all share.

Mark demonstrated the way the kibbutz does a lot with a little and uses recycled materials to build houses and structures around the village. The youth learned how to make rich soil through composting and ethanol gas with the use of old kitchen scraps. They built their own mud walls using the ancient technology of arches and crafted seed balls to plant in the ground. DSC_0316.JPG

With the guidance of Avi from Kibbutz Ketura, the sixth graders hiked into the vast, deep desert for their dinner. They roasted pita and marshmallows over an open fire and adorned these masterpieces with falafel and salad, or nutella for dessert. The kids sprawled across a large tapestry, eating by lantern light under the wide-open sky. Mars, Venus, and Saturn could be seen among the millions of twinkling stars. Quds, Sema, and Siba graced us with their beautiful voices and sang sweet serenades to the group as we said our final goodbyes to the desert.

Screen Shot 2018-08-16 at 1.31.56 PM.pngWhen we arrived back at camp, we had a spontaneous dance party! They boogied the night away and put off going to bed as long as possible. It was the perfect happy ending to a perfectly wonderful day.

Special thank you to USAID West Bank/Gaza for making it all possible.

 

And we are off!! What a day it has been! Despite the the drastic change in climate and environment the campers are adjusting well and excited to be learning and playing together. To ensure they stay hydrated in the heat, we play fun drinking games (with water!).  Pathways Summer Seminar is part of our Interfaith Jerusalem project, funded by USAID West Bank/Gaza, which fosters youth leadership and civic involvement, celebrates the religious diversity of Jerusalem, and engages 288 youth and their parents from critical neighborhoods to support a pro-peace agenda in their communities.

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The kids were divided into small, intimate groups of seven to eight, with which they will meet twice a day throughout the week. They shared personal stories and funny anecdotes to break the ice and form bonds. They learned that this circle will be a safe space for them to come with questions or concerns for the rest of the week. Together, these teams will plan special projects or performances to present to the rest of the camp.
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A highlight of the day was the Ketura tour during which the youth learned about kibbutz life and the way Kibbutz Ketura functions and sustains itself. During the tour, the guide showed the kids a beautiful olive tree that grows from a 2,000 year-old date seed.

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The culture and atmosphere of a kibbutz is a new experience for many of our campers. “This is my first time on a kibbutz. I’d never even heard of a kibbutz before this,” said Gowan, one of spirited 6th grade campers.

Later after dinner, the kids cracked codes and solved puzzles, leading them around the kibbutz in search of hidden treasure and then retired to their dorms for more bonding and a good night’s sleep.
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