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ShnUpdate - Tzuf 22.04.21

Hello! This week we finally moved on from quarantine to Kibbutz Lotan. At Lotan, every day is structured very similarly. The days start early and are packed full of activities, but we get a break after lunch and our evenings are often free.

We left the hostel for the first time since arriving on Friday to get our Covid test that, if negative, meant that we would be allowed out of quarantine after 10 days. It was great to get out of the hostel and see the area, even if we couldn't get out of the cars. It felt like our first real taste of Israel past the airport.

We started Saturday with Shacharit, run by Elisheva and Josh, with a theme of community. We then used the rest of the day to pack up. We had a very chilled last day of quarantine.

By Sunday morning, we were all officially allowed out of quarantine. We went to Orits house to get organised for Lotan, then walked down to the shopping center close by, to get lunch and anything else we would need. Josh had to buy a new phone cover, and as he was putting it on, he dropped his phone and smashed a corner of the screen. Irony at its finest. We then went and got our first covid vaccine shot. We headed back to the hostel and practically got right on the bus to get to Lotan. Once we arrived, we met Mark, who's like the head of ecological teachings and has organised our schedule. He organised pizza for us.

We started off Monday morning bright and early at 6:30 (which is half an hour later than most of the other mornings planned on our schedule) and met Mark outside our two rooms for a tour around the Kibbutz with Mark. We then had breakfast at the tea house in the eco-kef, which was amazing and refreshing, especially compared to the greasy food we had in quarantine. After breakfast, we had a lesson where we learnt how to make mud bricks with Yuval, then a session with Mark about different world crisis and the holistic world view. We ate lunch from the dining hall and sat in the dining room, which had been closed due to covid, and we were the only people there. We had a group dynamics session after lunch, then a break. A group of four was then shown the kitchen we have access to make our supper every day. They made a delicious veggie curry and rice. The day ended with an Israeli folk dancing session, which was super fun.

We started Tuesday with another mud building session, but instead of making mud bricks, we made mud clay used in the building of walls and benches like cement. We made the first layer type and started to fix up and old bench. Throughout the rest of the day, we had sessions about; making compost, communication and the history of the kibbutz movement. In our afternoon free time, we went to the pool. Those of us who didn't cook on Monday were shown around the kitchen and cooked pasta and made salads.

Wednesday morning, most of us went on a walk with Mike. At lunch, we spoke with the Hebrew teacher at Machon, who assessed our Hebrew skill levels and placed us into classes. We had a session about plant cuttings, grafting and then checked on our compost after breakfast. After lunch, we continued the movie we had started in the session about the history of the kibbutz movement. In the evening, there was a community event we went to where we first helped with harvesting garlic and onions and then we joined the potluck. We brought salads. We got to speak to more people on the Kibbutz and even met some people we're going to have sessions with next week.

Thursday (aka today as I'm writing this), we continued restoring the mud bench with Yuval. After breakfast, we learnt about biogas. We then had a couple sessions with Mark, one about community and the other about the history of Lotan. In between, we had lunch and ate outside with the Green Apprenticeship people.

Being on the Kibbutz has been a great change from quarantine. We went from being stuck inside and feeling unproductive to waking up at 6am to do something. Even though it's hard to wake up so early in the morning, we look forward to the next week and a half of hard week and learning.

- Emma, Netzer South Africa

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