A visit to the Arava

I don’t think I’ve been to the Arava previously more than twice. But really, I don’t remember.

I wanted to write a long detailed post about my short visit to Lotan two weeks ago. But I didn’t. And as time passes and new stories are piling up in my net, I thought maybe I should, at least, post some of my photos already(!!).

Kibbutz Lotan lies in the deserted beauty of the Arava (or Arabah in Arabic), south of the country, 35 minutes north to Eilat, and what looks like 12 steps from Jordan. It really looked like you could just go visit. I could see lights from all those little houses on the mountains at night. Jordanian houses. I was trying not to think whether or not they want me dead, but I did.
I didn’t see the army anywhere, but I was told they are slacking around the rocks somewhere.

Founded in 1983 by a Reform youth movement, Kibbutz Lotan is one of the youngest Kibbutzim.  Its small population has consisted of some families, volunteers, students, grasshoppers, and hippies. Ok, I won’t say the word “hippie”. They don’t like to be called that.
About 150 people in general and all share the theme of caring for nature, dwelling in the beauty of the desert, and Reform Judaism (which means hippies). Honestly, Kibbutz Lotan is so freaking cool. One of the most unique places you could find in Israel.
It is a community dedicated to environmental consciousness. It does an amazingly creative job in order to keep its values and visions alive. Full with Ideology and good will, the people there stay focused on the goal of creating a new healthy society and peaceful living with nature and their neighbors.
Together with the different Bedouin communities and even Jordanian university students (who tell their parents that they go to Cyprus when they come here), they work on a variety of sustainability projects to keep the area as calm as possible. I was definitely impressed hearing about this.  But I am not sure how it goes, I will invest more into it and tell you at some point.

I am considering moving to this Kibbutz for a year and do some earthy works in the near future. But it’s only an option. My other options seem to be moving back to the States or Japan, drastically different places. Because that how it works when you are young and privileged.

I almost forgot to mention that I went on the Lotan trip with my adorable Achvat Amim group. I also share an apartment with these guys in Jerusalem and I love them all, really. Such an Intelligent bunch.

We were hosted in The Bustan neighborhood of the Kibbutz, which is made up of 10nish mud/straw/clay domes, a shared outdoor kitchen, and .. composting toilets! Which means doing it outside in a hole, but a very stylish one. The houses were built as part of the Green Apprenticeship program, this is also where students stay and other fellows who like mud.

Where you brush your teeth.

The no-water composting toilets we used were an adventure. A great way to save water in the desert but I also kept imagining myself falling into them. 
We also used a solar oven. I guess we could have given this thing a try too:
The laundry machine 
All of these low-tech systems that supposedly bring high impact result were very inspiring to me. But  mostly they made me feel like I stepped into Wonderland.

Yes. Work for nature, Human. 
It’s not all here for you, you are here for it. 

The actual translation… 

Bye. 

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