As leader of the day, it was my duty to wake everyone up at 7 AM… which is not a very easy task. The tired fellows slowly trickled into the breakfast hall like zombies. After breakfast we all climbed onto the bus still trying to fully wake up. This day was geared around volunteering and learning about unique areas in Tel Aviv. At a place called Ramat Gan we jumped off the bus and got ready for the first activity of the day. In Ramat Gan there is a place where people who are visually impaired or blind can receive economic benefits through work. We learned about how the Israeli government identifies if someone is visually impaired and how this affects their life. The Israeli government provides a certificate to an individual that identifies them as visually impaired, which indicates their work status. We volunteered here by helping these people with their work (constructing electronic devices used in lamps and televisions). As we worked we conversed with the workers and learned about how life is like for them being visually impaired and how they communicate effectively despite their disability.
After volunteering, we headed to an interactive museum called Dialogue in the Dark in which we were able to experience life as a blind person. In this museum we were guided through several rooms in complete darkness; in addition, our tour guide was a blind woman who for her, this was a reality. In the beginning, everyone was anxious and nervous to lose their sight; however, as we progressed through the museum we began to rely more on our sense of smell, touch, and hearing. We walked through a forest, log cabin, boat, market, busy street, cafeteria, and a music area. In each of these rooms we walked around, endeavoring to understand where we were without sight. After this museum, all the teens had gained a greater sense of appreciation for the ability to see (we also ate pizzaJ).
Next we went to Jaffa and walked around a market. Then we headed to South Tel Aviv and learned about the complex situation of the refugees who live there. We explored the responsibility of Israel to refugees as a Jewish state despite its inability to be a home to so many asylum seekers and migrant workers. South Tel Aviv is a more impoverished area in comparison to the rest of Tel Aviv and it opened up our eyes to a different lifestyle than we had yet seen in Israel.
We then walked around the old streets of ancient Yaffo and learned about the history of this land. Finally we went to dinner after a long day of walking around in the heat on Bugrashov Street. By the time we got back to the hotel we were all exhausted and ready to pass out. By learning about modern issues in Israel and seeing how they are dealt with, we were able to gain a different perspective that concerned relevant problems.