Young Ambassadors Update: Day 7

21 Jun

After waking up in a freezing cold hotel room, Jamie and I gathered with everyone in the hotel lobby. We ate a delicious breakfast of eggs, weird salads, coffee or hot chocolate, and a cheese pastry. Once our faces were stuffed, we jumped on our cute little bus and headed to a museum exhibit called Dialogue in the Dark. When we arrived, we walked through the entrance with only a few sheckles. Boaz took us inside and we were told to put all of our belongings, especially if it would reflect any light, in a locker. Already blind from not wearing my glasses, we all sat down in a room awaiting our introduction to the museum. A woman greeted us and explained the objective of the museum which was to better understand how it feels to be blind. We would experience that by walking through seven everyday activities (or stations) without any light. Jamie requested to be a volunteer for the woman who was trying to explain how we would walk through a museum and was given a blindfold. She was told to follow the woman’s voice as she walked in circles with her arms waving around her aimlessly. After viewing Jamie’s fantastic example, we began walking through a hallway that grew darker with each step. Eventually we could see nothing but darkness. I held Erica’s hand for the first fifteen minutes because obviously if a vicious monster came to eat us up, Erica could protect me. Gabi, our tour guide and the only one who actually knew the way through the museum, met up with us in the room. We approached him by following his voice. There was no use keeping our eyes open although it was habitual to look down at our feet every time we tripped, which was a lot for me. We all introduced ourselves and Gabi began to lead us through seven stations. We walked through another short hallway. The sound of water running down a stream, frogs croaking, birds squawking, and various animals flowed through the room. It seemed as if we had actually entered the rainforest instead of just a small room that could potentially be empty. I was debating with myself whether or not we were just listening to a recording when Maya tells us she found water and Jamie yells, “Guys, there’s a tree here. Don’t walk into it like I did.” And what did I do at that very second? I face planted right into the tree. Gabi led us across a bridge over the stream as we all bumped into each other like pool balls, straining to see in the blackness, and waving our arms. The next station was a house. We didn’t figure it out until finding a microwave and picture frame on the wall. Next, we were led onto a bench that wobbled slowly as if it were in the ocean. We heard a motor and once we figured out we were on a boat, we sang a few songs together as we rocked. When we got off of it, we entered a city. We felt our way through the room to find a bike leaning against a lamp post and a small car. We approached a grocery store which we were able to figure out only after feeling the different types of fruits that were lined up in baskets. We were soon told to sit against a wall and listen to a few songs. They called that station ‘the music room.’ Gabi led us into another room where our adventures ended. It was a cafeteria which was still in the dark. We stood in front of a counter and listened to a woman list snacks that we could order. We all shared chips and yummy Israeli chocolate that tasted like Kit Kats. We all squeezed around a table, ate our delicious food, and listen to Gabi answer any of our questions although we were still unable to see him. We all squinted when we exited as our eyes adjusted. We ate lunch outside in the grass. We were given sandwiches, apples, and chocolate muffins that were absolutely wonderful. We watched children wrestle near us. Jared took advantage of that opportunity and taught them one of his wrestling moves with the help of Flora who translated for him.

Next, we went to the beach. The waves were huge! All of us, completely pale with sunscreen, got into the water. The ground was speckled with beautiful sea shells and grew softer as we walked deeper into the sea. We jumped over the waves but being drenched every time a big wave came by was inevitable. Erica, Jared, and I went on a walk down the beach and afterwards I got a good 30 minutes of sleep in the sun. Some of us got ice cream before getting on the bus again.

After another hour on the bus, we arrived in Rishon Leziyyon, where thirty-plus Israeli teens excitedly greeted us, and had a small buffet prepared. All of the girls were absolutely beautiful and tan. After a few mixer games to get to know each other, they taught us a few of the dances they know and we taught them the Wobble which is a dance that all of us learned in like 6th grade. We took many, many selfies and then were assigned to our host families and went home. Yuval was a 15 year old girl who hosted me and Jamie. She was really nice and super excited to meet us. Her English was basic but very fluent which was impressive. She had a younger sister who was just as sweet and her parents spoke hardly any English. They were really nice and offered us food every two seconds. The house was small, cute, and cozy. All of the host family kids and us met up again later on. We all went out to a restaurant for dinner and most of us enjoyed mint lemonade with sandwiches and/or fries. We walked down the streets filled with Israeli couples, people with shopping bags, and children. We roamed around and it actually felt extremely safe. We stopped for ice cream before going back to Yuval’s house. Once we were inside, we plopped into bed and practically fell asleep the second that we did. Zzzzzz.

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Rachel M. is a participant on the 2014 Bob Malkin Young Ambassadors Teen Leadership Program.

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