We departed from Jerusalem and headed towards the desert. After crossing into the West Bank, the group met with teen representatives from the Alon settlement. We discussed topics that ranged from basic facts about the settlement to the Palestinian and Israeli conflict. It was interesting to see the similarities that the two of our groups had with each other even though we were raised in very different environments. Likewise, the arguments raised against different ideas were interesting to hear about, and we achieved greater understanding during this meeting. After we left Alon, we bused over to the Ein Gedi waterfall. We hiked past several falls, going under them whenever we were hot while learning about the interesting history of the area. The Bible says that David once hid in these exact caves from Saul. In the end, David spared Saul’s life, showing the kindness in David’s heart. At the top of the waterfalls, we had a great view overlooking the Dead Sea and Jordan.
One of the most hyped parts of our trip was the camel riding. The camels roared like bears and we kept calm as best we could while being lifted into the air. These seemingly ferocious beasts became silent, fortunately, and an indescribable experience commenced.The Bedouin hospitality was another peek into a completely different society than what we are accustomed to. We learned about the life of one Bedouin woman in particular, Sohad. Sohad is one of the only female Bedouin who is able to work just like her male counterparts. She discussed how she had finished her studies in a university after her husband married another woman. She had dreams for her life, and she was not going to let anyone stop her.
Later, we had a delicious dinner filled with humus, chicken, and vegetables. To calm down after a long day, we took time to appreciate the desert. We discovered how easy it is to lose track of time in such a vast land. Finally, we made s’mores on a bonfire, and then headed off to bed.