Monday June 3, 2013
Apparently we brought a heat wave with us and the thermometer continues hover at about 35 C. Even the Yeruchamites are staying indoors, but not our intrepid band of 5. Each day we meet extraordinary people multitasking while looking after their families of four+ children. Today was no different.
We all finally met Etai, the man charged with helping create and insure the execution of Yerucham’s strategic plan who had previously been out of town. Eitai is a young man on a mission working closely with Yerucham’s mayor and other leaders. Gerry and I also met with Edna, (the Director of Lake Yerucham Park), Eitai and a consultant to discuss branding the lake and the surrounding activities as an “in Yerucham only” opportunity.
We shared some of the ideas we had at that time and explored how they thought we could add value to their efforts to sell Yerucham’s tourism potential to both Israelis and overseas visitors.
The vision for the town, if the ambitious plan succeeds, will be located in the heart of a large park. The park would contain the two existing lakes on one side, as well as rivers which would run through town all the way to the Large Crater- some three kilometers away. This vision is like nothing else in the desert or the rest of Israel for that matter and we would like to help see this plan through.
Yerucham is hoping to receive a matching grant proposal from the government within the next few days that will be utilized for this purpose.
Queenie Rich met with Naomi who is charged with the portfolios of fundraising as well as overseeing youth programs. If she cloned herself three times over, she probably would be hard-pressed to do everything “on her plate”!
Today we discovered our first impressive North American style restaurant fit for tourists, and had both lunch and dinner there today. The restaurant is located inside the town’s community centre, an impressive new 2 story building. We’re using the classrooms upstairs for our “Engliyada” – a conversational English programme that we run four afternoons a week. The English lessons went well with participants smiling and learning.
Our evening concluded with a special drum playing presentation by an East Indian resident who also plays in an ensemble here. We all tried our hand at playing with more or less, mostly less, success. We heard about the Indian community that has settled here in Yerucham; their synagogue, their challenges, and their successes from our drumming teacher. He’s a most impressive, most engaging individual. We listened to CDs of music that he performed, many pieces performed with his now deceased father, and we were enthralled by the strange yet familiar sounds.
We are looking forward to meeting with the resident bird watcher tomorrow. We are also meeting with Yuval, the man in charge of coordinating all the tourism tracks as well as our program coordinator Marla Gamoran.
It’s late so Lila Tov – Good Night – until tomorrow. Ron Hoffman