Newness and Difference / Samantha Sisisky, Social Change Program Participant

Since we moved into the Yahel house about 3 weeks ago, I’ve gone through a range of emotions. We’ve had experiences that have been enlightening, frustrating, exciting, and challenging (among other things).  I think, for me at least, sheer newness and difference from our normal lives has branded everything we do.  None of us knew each other before coming here, so we each have 7 very new roommates.  We’ve had an array of local food, from the buna coffee ceremony to our first dinner together of an authentic Ethiopian meal. For some of us, Hebrew is a completely new language (For someone who studied it for 2 years in college, it is still more foreign that I’d like to admit.). The new faces, names, programs, streets can be overwhelming and exhilarating.

I can’t speak for each of the participants, but I believe that the greatest part has been the new community.  People in Gedera have been nothing but warm and welcoming.  There’s an authenticity to their openness that makes it all the better.  We have been to several BBQs with members of the garin, the group of people who have decided they want to create positive, organic change from within the local community.  We all believe in their ideas of social change, and through several interactions, they have shown that they are truly a community.  They know each other, their children play together and they work together towards common goals.  We as Yahel participants are not members of the garin because we aren’t moving to Gedera permanently, but I feel empowered just being able to work alongside them for the next 9 months.  I’ve never been a part of a community quite like this before.

I came to Israel because I wanted to experience something new.  Well, that’s at least part of the reason.  There are other reasons, some I already know and others that I’ll probably discover along the way. I felt stuck in my life for awhile, and I wanted to push myself to do something, for lack of a better phrase, outside of my comfort zone.  I’ve only been here about 3 weeks, so I’ve definitely been experiencing something new and foreign everyday.  I don’t think that’s going to wear off anytime soon.  I like pushing myself, but this community has made it easy to feel at home.

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