I cannot believe that there is less than a week left of the program. I feel like I met the students just yesterday. They were a little confused, very excited, and full of question:
- “Why am I not alone in a bedroom?”
- “Where do I do my laundry?”
- “Why do I have to get up in the morning for volunteering?”
- “What activities are mandatory?”
- “How do Israelis clean the floors without a mop?!”
WOW, they have grown up a lot since then! The students have formed amazing relationships with their roommates, they have no problem with laundry or cleaning their floor with a squeegee and a rag, and they feel so comfortable here that you would think they were locals! The madrichim have seen the difference as well and are no longer dealing with questions about “Where” and “How” and rather they are spending their time with the students talking about deeper, educational questions and ideas.
I have so much to say about the development of the students but I will save it for the final email that I will be sending next week…
Now, here is a glimpse of what we have been busy with over the past week:
On Monday, after everyone took their final exams and said goodbyes to their teachers, the group met for Statistics Night. I know that it sounds extremely boring, but it was a fun activity and a great way to summarize the semester! The madrichim gave each participant an anonymous questionnaire, and based upon the answers they made a list of statistics that shows what the students think about various matters, both significant and insignificant. We were happy to find that 99% are feeling that they have changed for the better over the semester and that more than 50% would like to become an Aardvark madrich one day!
On Wednesday, we celebrated “Jerusalem Day“. It is an Israeli national holiday commemorating the reunification of Jerusalem and the establishment of Israeli control over the Old City in the aftermath of the June 1967 Six-Day War. Once we entered the city, we saw people everywhere who had come from all over the country to celebrate.
We began with a tour of the walls of Migdal David in the Old City and ended the tour by rappelling down some of the other Old City walls! Then we went to “Tedi Park“, right next to the great stadium of Jerusalem. Every 2 hours there is a water fountain show in the park (which we managed to see). The students were so excited that they ran into the fountain and played with the water. After the show was over we gathered on the grass and had an activity about Jerusalem and the special day we were involved in.
After a day full of tours, we wrapped up the day by joining in the joyful and exciting parade in the streets of Jerusalem. We danced and laughed whilst singing our hearts out to Jewish songs. This was the first time that I had celebrated Yom Yerushalayim in Israel, and as we walked through King George Street trying to push through the huge crowds of people, I started to feel right at home. As a returning citizen it has been very important for me to become comfortable in as many places as possible and after celebrating with my fellow Jews and Israelis I feel like I could move in straight away. Yom Yerushalayim in Jerusalem brought out the very best in every person on the streets and you could feel the celebrations jolting through your body. As one of the last activities on Aardvark, it was a great way to end the semester. Definitely, a day to remember!
Soon we will head to the final Tekkes (ceremony) of Aardvark along with the Jerusalem group, again, in Jerusalem.
I’ll send you all the details of the ceremony and speeches in my next email along with goodbyes.
That will be all for now,
Until the very last time,