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Friday, August 25, 2006

Home From The North

I'm home from the north, a little thinner and a little tired but in good spirits. Things were different than I expected but overall the trip was good.

We arrived Tuesday at about noon time to a town called Ma'alot. Our group had bonded on the way as we were about 15 people squashed into a van along with all of our big bags. To our disappointment, when we arrived we were told that due to logistical issues (only one room for sleeping in) the girls would be staying in Ma'alot and instead five guys would be joining us at our final destination of Ma'aleh Yosef, a few kilometers form the border.

I spent most of the time (about 20 hours a day) underground, as we were sleeping and working in bomb shelters and underground bunkers. Our sleeping quarters were a 5m X 5m bomb shelter. All twelve of us managed to some how squish into it and sleep almost comfortably on the floor lined wall to wall with foam mattresses. It wasn't much fun though when on the last night our (single) toilet got clogged and began overflowing everywhere. Our showers were in a near by base as was our food. It was no Ritz but we made things work. I've been in worse.

Our days were spent driving along the border and in various Moshavim (like a Kibbutz) going from bomb shelter to bomb shelter clearing out garbage, sweeping and mopping- basically making them habitable. The inhabitants of the various towns we went to couldn't have been nicer. We were given drinks and snacks throughout the day in addition to fruit picked fresh from the tree. When kids passed us on the street we were always waved to and smiled at.

The first night we got a few free hours to go ice skating in Ma'alot (I didn't know there was a rink there). I wish as the resident Canadian I could have at least been the best skater but let's just say there is a reason I had to flee Canada. We all had a lot of fun though, even if we weren't very good. The second night we were supposed to go to see a comedy show but a few girls were lightly injured in a car accident so it was canceled. We made the best of it by going to a local pizza shop (pretty much the only think in the town that we were staying in) and just hanging around talking in the shelter.

We left Thursday afternoon, a little tired, a little sore but with a sense of accomplishment. I'm really glad I got to do this. We are supposed to be heading back on Sunday for another week but it looks like someone will be replacing me as I have a lot to do back on base. Below are some pictures I snapped while up north.

Crater Caused by Mortar Shell in Ye'arah
Crater caused by a mortar shell in the northern town of Ye'arah.

Shrapnel Damage From a Mortar Shell in Ye'arah
Shrapnel damage caused by a mortar shell in the northern town of Ye'arah.

My Team in the Bomb Shelter
My Team takes a break from cleaning in the bomb shelter.


At 12:52 AM, August 30, 2006, Blogger Yirmiyahu said...

thanks for the pictures of the garage damage especially. Because sometimes it is hard to explain to people over here how much damage some of these little rockets can do. They see them as fireworks sometimes... you should add my blog to your list at some point. see you buddy


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