Tuesday, June 19, 2007

North Carolina Volunteers #1

The day was beautiful with bright sunshine and a cool breeze. Our destination was situated on a steep cliff in a small village outside Jerusalem. The houses are surrounded by olive trees, grape vines and beautiful flowers in bloom. We met with the girls home director who shared her vision for the girls over cups of sweet sage tea. When we lingered longer than their excitement would allow, the girls started to drift into the room. And the fun began…..
There were 15 girls of all different sizes and ages. We divided up the girls into two groups, one making jewelry and one making cookies. The cookie group started mixing the ingredients and rolling out the dough. Flowers, teddy bears, circles, and butterflies began to appear. One by one, each girl shaped her cookies. An excited buzz filled the small room and a wonderful fragrance filled the air.
The other group began the careful process of selecting just the right beads to make a bracelet….. then a necklace, a ring …. and more jewelry than they could wear. As everyone began to prepare for lunch, one little girl grabbed a bowl of beads and slipped around the corner. There, she sat on the steps, quietly stringing more beads to make yet another lovely necklace.
We ate lunch with the girls and then had to say goodbye. Leaving was hard because the girls didn’t want us to go. Where there had been laughter, now there was sadness. They invited us back again next year…..…and I wouldn’t miss it for the world.
Later, we visited the Mount of Olives, the Church of all Nations, and the Garden of Gethsemane.

Arriving back at our home base, we walked down the street for a traditional Middle Eastern meal…Shawarma, chips and salad.

The day ended with everyone tired, full and eager for more.