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Volunteering in Israel – My Days in the Desert

After spending almost a month road tripping through Israel, I was excited to finally see the desert and get started on my second project, Desert Eco- Village project, with GoEco. The location was amazing, I was able to spend a few days in Jordan and then my project was only about two hours away from the Israeli/Jordanian border in Eilat. I took a bus, which was an easy process to buy the tickets. The ride was comfortable as well. I texted my project manager from GoEco, Yan, once I arrived at the bus stop. He also helped me with purchasing my bus ticket and telling me how to get to my project site. Yan called someone from the project and they came to get me within minutes (the bus stop is close to the camp.)

I was welcomed by all the volunteers and Renat, the head of the camp. I was given a cozy little cabin to share with my friend. Working with everyone was great, I learned so much about what it takes to build things with mud, not just cabins, but stairs and statues and many other things. I learned what it takes to make the perfect “batch” of mud and the consequences if it isn’t prepared correctly. The camp site is absolutely stunning, as many pictures as I took, I was never able to capture the fully beauty. You wake up in the morning and you’re surrounded by Jordanian mountains on one side and the wide open desert of Arava on the other side. I went in October and the weather was perfect, mostly because I am from Florida and I rarely get to experience cold weather.

I loved working with my fellow volunteers and it didn’t take long for us all to become close. I was with people from all around the world and we would spend our days working with each other, cooking all our meals together, and relaxing with one another at night, talking about ourselves. I was fortunate to be there during their annual film festival and participate in activities, such as yoga and swimming in a beautiful river near the camp. Our project manager, Yan, even came down to visit us and take us all on a hike through the Arava.

Renat was a great host and it’s amazing to see what she created with Yair, another head of the camp. It was a great experience to learn about eco friendly building and living and to get away from technology and the fast paced world we live in. The experience volunteering in Israel was very grounding and I honestly wish I took more pictures, but I was rarely on my phone after the first few days. To anyone who is down to earth and would like a mental get away, I definitely recommend this project.