By Freda Surki November 18th, 2009
This is the first thing I remember hearing from the staff about this experience, right after receiving the greatest amount of T-shirts and pants I ever got in one time, except only when I joined the IDF…
In this case I was at least relaxed that the sizes will probably fit me better…
Desert Queen Israel 2009 caught me by surprise; I learned I was joining the journey only few days before it actually started. Unlike most participants I didn't make a personal choice to go on this Journey – it just fell into my plate as part of my job in Masa (I have a great job, I know).
Masa; a project that enables youngsters from all around the world to experience Israel through long term programs through out the country, partnered with the Jewish Agency (Partnership 2000) & Desert Queen to create a unique journey that brings together women from all around the world to a joint, challenging journey in Israel.
Among the ten Jeeps participating in the journey there was one, close to my heart, with four Masa participants that I was asked to accompany.
I, that do my best not to refuse great opportunities when I sense them, accepted the offer with open hands and great joy.
I got to this journey on duty but let me tell you – a duty as this I am willing to accept on any given time…
I have heard a lot about Desert Queen. I even have few friends that have done it in the past and kept telling me I should go for it.
"When you'll come back you'll get it"!! Writing this I remember they told me the same thing.
The journey, without a doubt, gave forty women the chance to free themselves from their daily responsibilities and duties. This freedom was not taken for granted and was even more appreciated, after starting the journey at the Erez Checkpoint with the message of support in the Shalit family and our cause of freeing Gilad & bringing him back home safely as soon as possible.
Each day the journey progressed, emphasized even more the meaning of freedom and how privileged we were to be free and able to experience the Israeli desert and each other the way we did.
The moments that passed by, revealed the depth that each one of us has to offer;
Each woman and her own story, her own personal search & challenge, strengths & weaknesses, hopes & wishes, her own self.
We learned more and more about each other and our selves through the formal & informal conversations, the joint challenges that we had to face, our group activities, long hours of driving, moments of laughter & moments of cry, tent sharing and how can you not mention the many meals we had along the way.
With the scenery & serenity of the Israeli Negev around us, one can only appreciate the opportunity and hope to experience it more and more.
Left the journey with another meaningful experience added to my tool box for life, great memories and moments to look back at with a huge smile and most importantly, gained new friends
What else can a woman ask for?
Well… I am back and I got it :-)