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I loved working in the garden, Shlomo was a great teacher. It was lovely being able to spend a few hours under the sun, working with such beautiful flowers; especially since I come from a big city! The plants grown in the greenhouse are also grown by the students, and they later sell them to raise money for the school. I also got to work with the animals, which was my favorite part. The school has chickens, geese, ducks, rabbits, birds, chinchillas, and more that I’m sure I’ve forgotten. I loved my baby goats the most!.
My favorite part of the day was on the way to the Old City when we passed a group of palm trees. Our guide made us stop and told us to look at all the trees. He asked if they were all the same and then explained how each palm tree was a tree that grew slightly differently. For me this was the perfect image of Israel, a place where everyone is growing separately yet still a unit growing and developing together. It made me realize that life is not about them or us, but about everyone just in different places.
We planted vegetation to help stop erosion, prepared plantings in our homestay, went on a six hour trek, visited a number of historical and Buddhist sites and experienced the culture with the Akha people almost continually throughout the week. The Akha are the most tolerant and accepting of others of any group I have ever met. As far as an immersion learning experience goes, it would be hard to match.
I do not have enough words to describe the depth of the experience. I only know that the people I’ve met have influenced my life and I strongly recommend volunteering in this village. They need lots of help in establishing educational center and the overall experience for the volunteers is one of a kind and very rewarding… I recommend it to all those interested.
In the Deaf and Mute school, I learned basic Indian Sign language and taught English and vocabulary, and did arts and crafts.When I went to the Community Center, the children were split up into 4-5 different classes based on their age. I spent time with the toddlers and 6-10 year olds. We had so much fun reading, spelling, writing, and counting.
In the mornings I worked with children from the Special Needs School in Udaipur, and in the afternoons I taught English in an after school community class. We took the special need children to the zoo and spent a lot of time doing crafts which they loved. As it was Christmas time we spent the last few days before their school holidays making a Christmas tree!
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