26 ביוני 2010

The 2nd hike - by Malek Butto

Well, I can say that the 2nd hike was wonderful, amazing, great, burning, dehydrating, more affinity, more friendship, more emotions from each to other, more truth.

Here I'm walking and walking under the scorching sun... looking around, seeing all of my friends (even more than friends) are sweating just as I'm, all of us thinking about completing our task on time, we believed that we can do it and succeed just like the other tasks we had in the 1st hike in Carmel mountains.
We made a mistake: We believed that no one will dehydrate, but actually after 2.5 hours of walking we were facing 2 cases of dehydration which made us sit down and plan how to continue our day. We relaxed for 3 hours, chilling in the Jordan river, had lunch, discussed some topics, took some photos of each other, etc...

After treating the dehydrated and finishing the fun, we concluded that our safety is more important than finishing the missions on time, so we decided to take a 3-minute break every 15 minutes of walking, and no matter if the task will take more time.

After eating the Pasta at 22:00 and the wonderful grapevine leaf that Shadi brought (thanks to his mother for the surprise) I just sat down near the water with Tomer, guarding 11 of the most amazing persons I have ever met (including the guides) thinking about these moments I have waited all my life to see, that Arabs and Jews can sleep together in peace.

In the 2nd day, After discussing some political issues in the Jilabun River - it was an hour of honest and truth - we had a lot of fun: swimming, laughing, playing...

At the end of the day - as my friend Tomer said - we were asked by guides Olfat and Ilan to write down the names of the participants (from the other part of the group) that we think fit best in the group, it was the hardest part on the 2nd hike, all of us fit, so I was relieved after finishing this mission.

Now we're getting ready for the 3rd hike... that's it for now.


14 ביוני 2010

Team returns from 2nd hike, sweaty but sweet!

Burning tempratures deep in the Jordan valley made the group sweat through this 2-day hike over relatively forgiving terrain. Forced to stop for a chilling dip in the holy waters every hour or so, we had ample time for discussions and laughs. As 2 members were immobilized after 2 hours of hiking, due to dehydration, we decided (too late...) to slow our pace and show more attention to our bodies and our team mates.

View Breaking the Ice - Golan ascent in a larger map

Serious debates were taking place during this trip, exposing deep and powerful feelings about our nationalities, past and identities. Few things said were consensus, and all of us were moved and, sometimes, confused by what we heard and said. True friendships among us made it possible to overcome these feelings and quickly restore mutual trust and good atmosphere within the group.

As the scenery gradually changed along the route, from a wide river, to crops and on to basalt canyons, a sense of relief come to us from the cool waters of the Gilabun stream. A relaxed pace in the late afternoon sun put us all in a good mood.

In our final session that day we were asked by guides Olfat and Ilan to write down the names of the participants (from the other part of the group) that we think fit best in the group. currently there are 5 Arabs and 6 Jews, but only 4 of each will eventually head out to the alps this summer. Not an easy task, but personally I felt a kind of relief when I was finished. I tried to put friendship and personal feelings aside, and focused on the benefits each member can bring to the group, given the political objective of this project.

Our next adventure will be in the Negev desert in a couple of weeks. After dealing with hot climate this time, I hope we will prvent dehydration by correctly planning, timing and pacing our trek.

Here I am - written by Nadim Zubidat, after the 2nd trek

Here I am, walking on the mountain top minutes before sunset as the "team" tries to complete another task successfully. Finally! No physical effort is needed. Looking around me and I see a group of people that I barely know, yet I feel very comfortable with, a group of people with very different personalities, yet we speak about the deepest, most significant and most personal things. It’s a beautiful thing to watch, but today wasn’t all pleasant.
Looking back I can say that it was a very hard day as we struggled against the impossible burning sun, thorny trails and the weight on our backs. It is said that we are measured through the ability to get through hard times or in our case hard moments, and we definitely had a couple of those today, physically and mentally. Each time we meet up I learn more and more how difficult it is to be part of a “team” where every choice you make affects everyone, or even worse, every choice you do not make has even bigger impact on the rest. We made some bad choices today but as I see it, that’s not an issue we all make mistakes and we all have our ups and downs but it’s our responsibility to learn from mistakes and get the most of our downs, as a very wise man once told me “You’ll never become a horseman unless you fall off the horse”. Lucky for me I’m surrounded by efficient people and before I knew it, lessons were learned and decisions were made so we won’t fall off the horse once again.
It’s late at night and without noticing, I find myself smiling as I stare into my own words, thinking about a dozen of wonderful and funny moments I’ve had in the last couple of days, All of them I experienced with the same people I talked about earlier, these group of people I barely know. That makes me think, actually it makes me realize that me and those people are getting closer more than I have ever imagined. We are not a “team” anymore, we are absolutely without arguing... a Team!


7 ביוני 2010

Upcoming: our next adventure in the wild

4 days to go, and most of us are "up to our ears" with academic tasks, as the semester ends next week. Some of us are studying hard for the exams, some are writing research proposals or just working out in the University gym... In the meantime,  preparations for our next weekend in nature our more relaxed this time, since we already "know the drill" regarding food and logistics. This time our destination was not revealed to us, and a route will be plotted on site by team members in charge of navigation. All we know is that the starting point is near the Jordan River National Park, and since it is 200 meters below sea-level, we can only go up!
Following a very politically-complex week, the bonds between participants are getting stronger, And I sense none of us are intimidated by extremists or politicians of either sides.
Looking forward for another challanging and fun hike in the wet & wild jordan valley!