It’s soon the beginning of the second week of volunteering in Israel. The group of volunteers of which I am a part is an eclectic bunch. We’re a melange of men and women, young and old, from Switzerland, the U.S., the Netherlands, Canada, France, Spain, and the Czech Republic. We speak a variety of languages and come from a variety of backgrounds. One man was an engineer on a ship that brought displaced persons to Israel in the 1940s, one woman is a former member of a diplomatic corps, another young woman is volunteering while she considers joining the Israeli Defense Forces. One man was in business in Africa for decades and is volunteering during retirement.
I’m working with medical supplies this time. Medical staffs from Israel have been fast on the scene of world disasters, most recently in the Philippines, and I like to imagine that my very small work makes a difference to people who need help. Last blog I mentioned some of the discoveries/advancements Israeli companies have made in medicine and other fields. I think I forgot the ReWalk, the first commercially viable upright walking assistance tool, which enables paraplegics to stand, walk, and climbs stairs.
I always feel a sense of excitement here because Israel is still so new compared to other countries. Even the infrastructure is still being created. Railroads and new roads are being built, people are moving south and north away from the center to start new communities. This makes for a sense of motion. Part of this sensation is created by the social freedom one finds here. Gender equality is enshrined in Israeli law. Women pursue all occupations, and are the majority in higher education. On the issue of gay rights, Israel’s laws are more progressive than most other countries in the world, including the U.S. Outside of any issues there is the the population itself: it comes from all over the world, in a stream of colors and languages and cultural practices.
Back to work tomorrow.