Sunday, January 21, 2007

Disorientation Part. 2

On Sunday wake up was early so that we would not miss the bus, you know I dont know why we bothered we were all ready to leave on time, and we had to wait around for a bloody hour for the bus to arrive, finally it came at eleven and we packed it frantically and boarded it for the ride to Karmiel. We arrived at two (an hour late) and were greeted at our house by Oren our madrich who i will speak more of in due course, the same goes for the house, no sooner had we been welcomed to the house and dumber our excessive amount of baggage on the ground we were being herded onto a mini-bus to do our first big shop, as the house had of course no food in it. The bus ride was taken up with making an ad-hoc shopping list with inevitable arguements over whether we should use olive oil or sunflower oil, butter or margarine. Despite any sign of organisation we still managed to conduct a successful shop, and it took us a whole hour less then Oren had expected.

After the shop we unpacked the food and were shown to our rooms. I was sharing with Ilai and Ariel, two of the newbies, and we were delighted to find our rooms had cupboards, curtains and doors, all things that other rooms lacked. The girls who were on the same floor as us walked into their rooms to discover beds, and that was it. Room selection you might be curious to know was conducted b Oren showing us the names of the rooms and then giving us the choice on the names alone, ultra violet was too hideous for anyone else to pick, and so we ended up with it, and cupboard space. The room is called ultra-violet because for some bizarre reason it has an ultra-violet on one of the walls.

Starting that evening until the following evening we spent our time going around looking at all the different places we would be volunteeing at. On Sunday evening we went to a kibbutz half an hour outside Karmiel, here there are absorption centers where new emigrees from Ethiopia live and study. The first one had no idea we were coming, so they gave us a quick talk and showed us the door, the second one was far more welcoming, they had laid out a whole array of refreshments and gave us a talk about what they did and gave us a tour of the area.

Following the absorption center we returned to the house, during our drive back it transpired that Reg seeing how bad my cold was had instructed Oren to take me to to the doctor. I should explain that I am the sort of person that has a running cold for months on end and never goes to the doctor, so the idea that I should visit the doctor for a cough (however ferocious it may be) was abhorrent to me. Nevertherless I complied and I found myself in a small doctors surgery in Karmiel waiting for the inevitable. The doctor illustrating what an independent and inventive thinker he was took one look at me said I was getting the flu, and banged me straight on antibiotics.

The next day the tour of the placements began, I should explain that there is a morning and afternoon placement, the morning placement is every day and in a local school where we hel teach English, and the afternoon placement and is two or three times a week and in an array of different volunteering locations. The first place we went to was a local primary school called Hairism. After a talk and tour there, we went to the municipality building for a talk about Karmiel and then a tour around the city. I shall devote more space to the city itself but I would like to say at this juncture it is a truly beautiful city and nothing like I expected. Following this it was back to the house for lunch before a speedy tour of the library, pool, school for delinquents, and moadonit (social club for children with disabilities), all places where we might be volunteering in the afternoon.

The following day it was time for us to see the rest of the schools, these included a primary school, two high schools, a druze school, and a primary school very much focused on art and music. Each school provided us with a talk about the school and our roles there and a tour of the school. Once we had seen the schools it was back home to prepare for one of Reg's public relations masterstrokes. Owing to the fact our house is in a very nice residential area we have a considerable number of neighbours, and so it was decided that in order to appease them and make sure they are not terrified of us we opened up the house to all of them, so they could meet us and bring copious amounts of food.

Following this rather successful event (which stretched out for some time as of course our neighbours were not the leaving sort) we prepared for some rather unpleasant business, finding out our placements. During the course of the tour it had been assumed that we would get to choose where we wanted to work, but as everyone wanted to work in the same places, Reg and Oren decided it would be a lot easier if they just assigned us our placements without giving us any say in the matter. To ease the pain we were taken out one by one to hear where we would be working, this caused a lot of nervous waiting around. Finally my turn came and I was told that I would be working in the absorption centre and the Druze school.


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