Photo above was taken in August 1993 - Jill (London; it was her birthday) and our hardworking farmer, Mr Fromm.
Packing our bags. . .
We knew nothing of other countries or cultures when we left our home & jobs in South Africa to go and volunteer/work in Israel in 1993.
What a culture shock!!!
My husband and I were married for just 2 years and both of us were never away from our parents for more than just a holiday. (we lived close-by too)
Then we packed up and said 'Good-bye' for 6 months.....(it should have been/ would have been much longer!)
Now we want to go back; unfortunately you cannot turn back the clock and we are a lot older etc etc... But we will not give up hope; you can now even volunteer when you retired!
We arrived with no jobs lined up - just the address for the Moshav Office in Tel Aviv. (in those days)
But - the very next day we arrived at Moshav Lachish in time for the grape-picking season.
We worked hard (it felt like that, what with the over-40-degrees-Celsius heat!) but we had the privilege to cool down in the swimming pool every afternoon - which felt like a holiday resort!
We picked Thompsons Seedless grapes that was exported to Marks & Spencer England - delicious grapes! (we could pick the 'left-overs' that were yellow and super-sweet from the vineyards that were already harvested!)
If you want to work on a Moshav, check out the WWOOFing options.
We loved working on Kibbutz Ruhama with volunteers from Denmark and England. The work was a lot easier, and the pace slower.
We worked shifts in the toothbrush factory with Nahum, took turns to clean up after meals in the 'dishwasher'-section, but the best of all was that we had the privilege to work in the nagaria (carpentry workshop) with older members of the kibbutz. They treated us like beloved co-workers and even invited us into their homes for coffee, talks and treats.
For years after, we still sent parcels and received letters and postcards from our friend Yudah Bach, who sadly past away about 15 years ago.
We loved the dining room on a Friday night - Shabbas candles were lit, the blessings over wine and bread said and a feast of food was enjoyed, together with conversation and community!
Nowadays Kibbutz Ruhama does not take in volunteers, but they have a guesthouse and spa for visitors, while the brush factory (Hamivreset Ruhama) still operates.
They manufacture from toothbrushes, paintbrushes etc. to industrial brushes.
My husband used to work in the paintbrush-factory, while I was involved in the sawing, plaining and finishing-off of the various brush-bases.