Time flies and I realize that I have now been here for one and a half months. Because of the Jewish holiday Sukkot, I haven’t been able to get to the Al Salam Elementary School in Rahat every day.

Beer Sheva Language Exchange and Masa Bedouin Coexistence Fellows

The beginning of last week was very busy though. I started by having a meeting with Julia [Drogen, Director of Volunteering for A New Dawn in the Negev] in Jerusalem and we discussed my running the Beer Sheva Language Exchange. It’s a language café that will take place close to Ben-Gurion University of the Negev every Monday evening. The response so far has been great. The first meeting will take place next week and I can’t wait!

We also had lots of time to talk about the Masa Bedouin Coexistence Fellowships and I got more involved in the preparation and how to recruit fellows. It’s lots of work and I’m starting to get a grip of how much work there is working for a nonprofit organization.

Ministry of Education Visits Al Salam School in Rahat

Last week the school prepared for visitors from the Ministry of Education. They were inspectors and I also heard that there is a prize that one elementary school in Rahat could win. I helped seven students from the so called Green Committee to practice a song in English to perform on that day. The song is called “I am the Earth” and was chosen by the teachers at the school.

In the beginning it seemed to be too difficult to learn in just three days but after practicing over and over they learned the lyrics and it was great to see how they really gave hundred percent to memorize the song and to learn it quickly. (Unfortunately I couldn’t be there since I was in Jerusalem to attend a meeting with Julia and Jamal [Al Kirnawi, Founding Director of A New Dawn] with the Ministry of Education.

A New Dawn’s Bedouin Youth at Risk Program

Last week I also got the chance to go to the youth at risk meetings for boys and for girls in Rahat. It was amazing to see what a difference A New Dawn really does for the youth and how the program works.

The meetings is based on empowerment to help the youth to prepare for future employment and get more involved in the community and the society in general. I felt very welcome as a guest in both meetings and I really wish to attend more of these meetings.

It was very interesting to speak with the teenagers, especially with the girls. We discussed things like family, life, music and friendship. Our lives are so different but in the same time there is a lot of similarities. They seemed to love to hear about my brothers and sisters and it was interesting for me to hear about their families and interests. We also took lots of “selfies” together witch they really like 🙂

Learning Together with Another Volunteer Teacher in the Negev

The days are becoming longer. I think it’s mainly since I’m getting more involved. There is a girl from Rahat also volunteering and teaching English and it’s great sit down now and then to give each other ideas on what to do and different activities for the classes. Today I joined her afternoon English class which was lots of fun since she have bigger groups and she is also able to speak both English and Arabic with the children.

A Family Dinner in Rahat

Afterwards I was invited to come to a dinner in a family in Rahat.

I had such a good time with amazing family members, delicious food, and interesting cultural exchange. I’m so impressed by how close the families seem to be and how warm and welcoming they are. Before I left they told me that I should see them as my second family and the mother made sure I could call or visit them whenever I wanted. I came home feeling so happy about being able to see and experience this and to meet these amazing people!

Shared with permission from Olivia’s blog: Volunteering with A New Dawn in the Negev.