GONDAR, ETHIOPIA - "If someone had told me a year ago that I would travel to volunteer in Ethiopia to repair the world, I'd have called it a fantasy, says Mazal Boublil, one of the participants in Project TEN . “But there I was, a mother of two, 45, and part of an amazing group of young Canadians and Israelis."
Among their activities, the group “initiated an 'extreme sports' day at a Jewish school, helped develop agricultural fields, donated school supplies, and clothes and shoes for schools and hospitals,” Boublil said.
Another participant, Beersheva high school student Ron Rosenbaum, says he was amazed by the countryside.
"Ethiopia is beautiful and the landscape is quite varied, from one side you can see sand and desert, and on the other side blue water, green trees, and bushes,” he said.
But his strongest impression was that “Warmth and love are abundant everywhere; the people are friendly and there is a feeling of another era."
Project TEN was born out of an understanding that Israel has grown and matured enough that it can help struggling countries. In the ongoing program, Jews from around the world spend three months in Ethiopia and India.
“Our team volunteered for an amazing woman named Nana, a single mother of two children,” Mazal continues. “Despite the distance of thousands of miles separating between us, as two single mothers, I realized that our experiences are similar for better or worse.”
Mazal praised Nana, who she said “did everything possible to give us a warm feeling, honored us with coffee and grain roasted on the fire, and even made us homemade beer.”
Reflecting on the team's characteristics, Mazal said she “was surprised every time by the emotional maturity of the group members and their intelligent psychological interpretation of situations.
She says she was “filled with pride looking at this delegation and their real desire for a change, and adds, “I wish for more good things like that.”Israeli and Canadian youth recently took part in an ongoing Jewish Agency volunteer initiative in Ethiopia, Project TEN, which embodies the ancient Jewish concept of Tikkun OlamJewish Social Action