Defiance Travel Journal Day 6: Wednesday Jan. 2 2013, Soldiers, Camels and the Bedouins
We left the north of Israel today and headed into the desert near the Dead Sea for our more colorful day of travel yet. One of the most powerful parts of Birthright is that in addition to getting to travel with kids from your own school, you are also joined by a group of Israeli soldiers who are rewarded for their work with a chance to experience the Birthright trip as well. We were assigned five male and three female soldiers, all of whom are from various places around Israel and were in various positions in the army. In Israel, 18 year olds get drafted into the army and must serve for 2-3 years. Most of our soldiers were my age, and it was so interesting to see the similarities and differences in the lives of college kids from America and soldiers from Israel, all of whom were around the age of twenty.
With our soldiers in tow, we went to the Hava and Adam Eco-Educational Farm in the city of Modi’in. This is an incredible self-sustained farm where students come and experience various facets of ecology and sustainable living practices post-university. There were so many similarities between this farm and the other farms I have been to in California, and it was beautiful to realize that sustainability and nature are a few of the true universal connecting forces around the world. Farming is spoken across the globe, and I am honored to have been able to engage in such an important conversation.
Our next stop of the day was a Bedouin tent in the desert where we were welcomed in with tea, coffee, and an introduction to Bedouin culture. After relaxing in the beautiful camp, we rode camels through the desert to get an authentic taste of Middle Eastern history. Finally, we returned to the camp for a huge Bedouin feast, stargazing in the desert, and music jams in our tent that lasted well into the night. Our night was complete with camping out on the floor all together in one big sleeping area with tunes, talk, and bonding accompanying every moment.