Volunteering on LivinGood Farm

Moshav Hamra, Israel.

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Israeli breakfast at 10:00.

We prepare crisp cucumbers, ripe tomatoes, orange and green peppers, techina with za’atar, and warm pita bread as our hosts Ran and Eyal pour freshly made Turkish coffee into tiny colorful cups.

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We spend the day in the warehouse singing along to Israeli music on the radio. We sort  fresh, organic medjoul dates into 1 kilo and 5 kilo brown boxes stamped with the LivinGood logo. Then we bring some back with us to make homemade date swirl cookies. Life is beautiful.

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Painting the Mountains 2

Moshav Hamra, Israel

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A blank canvas

A blue warehouse wall

A perfect day

To paint over it all

With sunshine we paint

What we see

The mountains of Samaria that surround

And at the top the Lonely Tree

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Pruning Trees

Moshav Hamra, Israel

The soil is rich red. Red like a terra-cotta pot. The dry dust covers us, out shoes, our legs, our clothes as we dig a single furrow between the trees. One of us plows the row by hand with a hoe, while the other puts the irrigation hose inside and hammers it in with a peg. We work towards the mountains. The trees are slanted, some lean so far to the left or right it seems they are reaching for the earth, while others are so perfectly erect, they clearly reach for the sky. After digging, we prune the trees-cutting away the little pieces growing low on the trunk to give strength to the rest of the tree. Covered in soil, intertwined with the trees, one with the land.

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Painting the Mountains

Mountains of Samaria

Moshav Hamra, Israel

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Painting the mountains, or so it seems

Painting the scene, the colors of a million dreams

The perfect blue skies, the golden hills

The puffy white clouds, the dots of flowers so still

And yet nothing we paint could ever compare

To the beauty that is already there

Moshav Hamra, Israel

Painting the Skies

Moshav Hamra, Israel

We walk into a square, open roofed building on the top of a hill, overlooking shady dessert mountains and picturesque blue skies. There are big buckets of paint inside and lots of dirt and dust. Our task for the day-renovation. We start early in the morning. Cleaning out all the leftover pieces of things that were never put in the right place, we sweep the dust and dirt, and we throw buckets of water on the walls to clean them off. And then we begin to paint. We paint all the walls white. A new coat of paint can make such a difference. It’s like a long night’s sleep to an exhausted person, or a bite of food to someone who is famished, or a kind word to someone who is hurt. We watch it go from a dusty, dirty mess to a neat and rustic bungalow that could be used for anything. When we’re done, we pick some dried out wildflowers from the hills outside the building and put them in our empty paint can.

Life is beautiful.