Volunteering in Israel – Stephanie’s Time in the Mountains

Posted by: Stephanie

After much consideration and debate I decided to volunteer in Israel at the Mountain Eco-Lodge project. I decided to go through GoEco because they were very helpful and always answered my questions promptly. They were also great during the registration process and the customer service was marvelous. I appreciated that GoEco sent reminder emails about booking flights and payments. They also sent me a pre-departure kit regarding my project which was emailed to me a month before my trip and had all of the information and numbers I needed.

When I first arrived in Israel I met my fellow volunteers in front of the hostel in Jerusalem. We were then escorted to a room where we were given information about GoEco, the projects, Israel, and Jerusalem. We played an introduction game to get to know each other. All of the information was very useful. After this we went on a tour of Jerusalem and the Old City which was amazing. The next day I headed to the Golan Heights via bus. The field coordinator, Yan, gave me detailed instructions on how to reach the project and kept in contact with me during the journey.

The project was located in the Golan Heights in a small village called Nimrod. I was honestly not sure what to expect and I was slightly nervous to be volunteering in Israel for three weeks by myself. I was picked up from the bus stop from one of the project managers. He was very cheeky and had a great sense of humor. He showed me to my cabin which was equipped with cooking facilities, a fridge, bathroom, and beds. I was then given a tour of the facilities and decided that I would be mainly focusing on the hospitality aspect of the project as well as assisting in the eco-garden.  Some of my responsibilities included greeting guests and taking them to their cabins, preparing food, and cleaning rooms before guests arrived. I really enjoyed interacting with the guests because I would have long conversations with them and it was interesting to learn about their experiences living in Israel. I also tended to the plants in the eco-garden. I would water them twice a day, pick strawberries, arugula, and tomatoes, and replant plants to different areas when they were too big.

I was also lucky enough to be able to go to the Nimrod Fortress. We went on a hike and took a tour of the top and insides of the Fortress. We then visited a local Druze village. While everyone was super friendly at the Lodge, I especially got along with the other project manager. She was so wonderful to speak with and open-minded; we would sit and chat for hours. I truly appreciated working in the mountains and being away from the big city. I was able to sit on a rooftop and gaze at the sunset over the mountains and it was just spectacular!

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed volunteering in Israel at the Mountain Eco-Lodge project. I would definitely recommend this project to everyone especially if you like nature and having independence!