It is 5:20, I cringe and roll over as Jeff’s alarm wakes us up. It is time for our quiet time, before we quickly get ready to be picked up for work at 6:30. After Ran and Eyal pick us up we drive the 20km from the Moshav to the date farm. The scenery is beautiful. We pass numerous caves in the Samarian mountains which local Bedouins use to shelter their sheep. The hills are very green and there are wildflowers after the winter rain that we had. As we pull up to the date plantation we spot some deer between the date palms. They are very tame and barely take notice of our arrival.
It is chilly and misty in the early morning so the first thing we do is to make some tea and coffee to warm us up. We enjoy this together with wafers. A great start to the day. Once the coffee is finished we head off to our tasks for the day. The date harvest is in August so it is currently project season. We have worked on various projects since our arrival mid-January like installing a toilet and tiling the floor of the loo, erecting a structure for a shade cloth (it reaches 50°C in summer), painting the containers on the farm and maintaining the irrigation system. By far the biggest project that we are working on is establishing a new plantation. This is what I’m working on. Ran taught me how to drive his digger and I am digging the 150 holes needed for the saplings to be planted. Some of the others are working on laying new irrigation pipes for the yet to be planted trees.
At 10:30 Ran calls us in for breakfast. We gather together for a breakfast of pita, tomato, cucumber, pepper, tuna and tahini. I mix the tahini (tahini paste with water and squeezed lemon) while the other chop veggies and make coffee. We finish off our breakfast with more wafers and halwa. It is back to work for us until 12:20 when Ran calls us in and tells us to pack away.
We arrive back at the Moshav around 13:00 and quickly get some hummus and pita for lunch. The work day in the dates might be finished but “work” is only starting now for Jeff and I. After lunch and relaxing for half an hour, we get out our laptops and start where we left off yesterday. Our current mission is to go through each and every video clip that we have shot in the last 11 months and catalog it according to criteria of visuals, content and relevance. This is a massive task and has kept us very busy for the past 6 weeks.
Even though we still have a fair bit of content to go through we will probably only be able to put aside another two weeks for cataloging as we also need to finish the script for the fictional piece before the end of March when we will be heading to Jordan to hopefully pick up some content connected with the Syrian refugee crisis. We plan to be in Jordan for two weeks after which we will return to Israel for 3 months to prepare for and shoot the fictional piece.
Luckily it has not only been work 24/7. We get Saturday’s off at the Moshav and decided that we will rest from our work as well. We have had some nice opportunities to travel around. We have visited Masada and the dead sea, Nazareth, the Golan Heights and various trips to Jerusalem, including this past weekend when we conducted an interview with author Tom Doyle, visited the Israel Museum, the Qumran caves, the Western Wall tunnels as well as the Dome of the Rock on temple mount.
Things have been busy and will likely continue to be. During March apart from finishing the catalog and the script for the fictional story we also want to visit Palestine and meet up with a group from Global Challenge among other things. Please pray for wisdom to prioritise our time well and for energy to make the most of the working hours that we have. Thank you to everyone that has been praying for divine connections and opportunities. We have really experienced God’s favour with finding contacts. We recently contacted an organisation about our project and got very positive feedback. Please pray that we will also find the right contacts to work with in Jordan. Lastly I rather daunting task ahead of us is finding a cast for the narrative fiction story. Plesse pray that God will provide the right people and guide us through the process.