What I learned about mangoes

Navigating Israeli buses truly is something else. Monday was supposed to leave on a 12:15 bus to go north, but I missed it. Just barely made it to the stop and then it went right by me. Someone tried to help but I couldn’t understand the Hebrew. It would take a couple months before I learned that buses don’t stop if they’re already full – or if you don’t signal. It’s incredibly frustrating and humbling not communicating effectively. Forever embarrassing.

After about two hours (on a trip that should have taken half an hour) I finally made it to the CBS. First  bus I tried to take filled up and the door shut in face. It would take double those months of learning, to figure out how to assert myself in the non-lines of Israel, especially regarding the buses. Made it on the third bus and took it to Tiberias on the western side. Then another bus back over the eastern side.

The final bus driver over charged some people going to the same junction. Only a couple shekels. It didn’t bother me, but a few folks asked for the money back. I was surprised to see the driver didn’t argue or take it personally. H didn’t seem tomind or care about staying on schedule either. Got off at the junction and tried hitching but went the wrong way. Ended up back at Tzomet Kursi, waiting for a pickup. Noam drove down to get me. She and her partner Tom are long term volunteers at the moshav.

Everyone here is bi or trilingual. Spanish, Hebrew, English. I feel isolated.

It’s chaotic here with all the mangoes. And OMFG HOT. Waking up at 5 a.m. to work for four hours or so, while the temperature and sun are bearable. Average temperature is hovering at 40C, or 102-105F and not much cooler at night. Although there is a large, covered khan, or tent, I slept outside in the geodome, which is cool – not literally – but better than the stagnancy in the khan.

The family who run the farm: it’s a couple with three kids, all boys. There’s another Israeli volunteer couple with an 11 month old who’s adorable. And I don’t ever like babies. Then there’s a woman from Spain.

I think I’m glad I’m only staying here a week.

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For privacy’s sake, I’m renaming the baby “Feather” and for reference.

Feather’s mom walks around with him in a sling, like a marsupial. I have spent 0 time around babies. Feather’s mom told me she and her husband are following an upbringing method from a book called “Continuum Concept“, about how the Amazon raise their children.

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Afternoon

Here it is interesting observe the polar opposite of everything to Jerusalem – no one cares about clothing or being covered a certain way, according to halakhah – politeness.

The Spanish volunteer came to Israel part in interest of the conflict. She works with international development and wants to see and hear opinions of both sides. I think she’s planning on a West Bank trip next.

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It’s a weird feeling to watch a child and know you weren’t raised in the same manner. And that’s not my fault, even if I rejected it.
The kids run around here so freely and inquisitively. Without clothes. Going to the bathroom wherever. No diapers. Seems a lot healthier for mind and body.. And this makes me happy and sad all at once.

Feather’s mom writes children’s books about fruit that goes on an adventure – her family is fruitarian as are Noam and Tom and the host family here at the moshav.

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Still August 2

I’m homesick – for my town and familiarity and Gilmore Girls and coffee that tastes. And for home I’ve never had. Parents and a piece of childhood that’s lacking. This baby is killing me.

Earlier today we discussed diets. Like I mentioned before, everyone here except the Spanish woman and I, are raw/fruitarian. They seem to have an elitist attitude toward people who eat cooked food.¬† And their views on Judaism – they’re totally nonobservant. I got weird looks and funky vibe when I asked about Shabbat or Friday night dinner. And they work six days a week. Some of the people think the traditions are crazy – like circumcision, which I think I’d have to agree with. But still, it surprised me how critical they all were of something that’s still “theirs”, while not recognizing their chosen lifestyle is, or how it’s presented, a little extreme or unusual – to the outsider at least. Not to mention being so removed from modern society not to raise your kids with knowledge of the present day or the people different from them. It sounds like what the Haredi do in their communities. And the people can’t function well outside of it.

Where’s the balance?

August 4

there are a multitude of communities here, of people who essentially go off the grid and back to nature. Removed from society. I wonder though, how selfish or beneficial is it to yourself and others? What good is it to pick mangoes in morning and twiddle your thumbs the rest of the day? It’s so hot here you can’t do anything during the day except eat fruit and rest.

Doe removing yourself from society hurt or help? It seems to be if you have the ability to help, you must. And choosing to remain neutral is almost as bad as violence. Perhaps some are meant to live in recluse, to teach others like myself, wandering through. And when we leave, we can take a part of the teaching with us and share it with others.

 

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