By Alana, Tikkun Olam in Tel Aviv-Jaffa, a 5 month Social Action track participant and University of Connecticut graduate.
This weekend marked our first group trip around Israel! Once a month we go on weekend camping trips through various regions. This weekend we drove down to the Negev (A huuuuge desert in southern Israel) for some hiking and farm tours. After a 2+ hour drive into the desert we found ourselves at an Alpaca farm down south. We learned all about the little critters and got to feed them too!
After learning about Alpacas (not to be confused with llamas…the farmer made that very clear) we took off for yet another farm tour. This time we found ourselves at a“Lone Farm” a few minutes south of the first farm. A Lone Farm is owned by one family in the middle of the Negev. There are quite a few lone farms in the area, which provides a nice community for trading, selling, etc…There is also quite a bit of tourism at Lone Farms, which is how these “middle of nowhere” vegetable/animal establishments survive.
The farm we arrived at was a goat farm, so of course we had to do a cheese and yogurt tasting. I’ve never had such great yogurt in my life! After that we learned more about the farm and why the farmer chose to live out in the Negev. The goats were fun too. We had a great time messing around, playing on farm equipment, and making friends with the animals.
Afterwards, we took off for Bedouin campgrounds in the area. We were off to spend a night in the great outdoors! The Bedouins are a nomadic Arab tribe that have lived in the desert for thousands of years. They generally work with livestock, but in the past few years that way of life has become increasingly more difficult. This is due to the tightening of zoning laws, the rise in Urban areas, land ownership rights, etc.
We arrived at the Bedouin camp and immediately set up our sleeping area. It was a little touristy, but still fun. We also drank some amazing tea that they were passing out at the camp.
The man on the right was the one providing the tea. After I finished my first glass I really wanted another so I went up to him and said, “Od-pa’am Bvachasha.” He looked at me kind of funny and my friends all laughed because I had said, “Another time, please.” In order to defend myself I turned back to him and said, “Ani ivrit lo tov.” This time he looked at me like I was seriously an idiot because I had said “I am Hebrew, not good.” After a few moments of contemplation I finally said it correctly (Ivrit sheli lo tov) and we had a good chuckle at my poor language skills.