Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Day Trip, Part 2

The second part of our trip was to a very special village. This is a place where 13-18 year old boys who are "in trouble"--out on the streets, involved with drugs and crime, from broken homes, etc. can come to live. The village, whose name "S'dei Bar" means "Wild Fields" has taken these boys off the streets, created a warm and loving home for them, and rehabilitated them completely. Instead of the boys going to juvenile detention centers, they are given education (school in the morning) and occupation (they work in the goat farm and dairy) and lots of guidance. Many of them go on to join the Israeli army, which means they have become a real part of society again. Some of them have gone on to become pilots in the Israeli Air Force, which is amazing. Because they were able to earn their high school diplomas at the village, they can go on to university and earn higher degrees of learning.
The dairy produces fantastic goat's milk yogurts in all different flavors--passion fruit, mixed berry, strawberry, etc. They also make a variety of wonderful goat's milk cheeses. Believe me, I did not think I would like any of this stuff. But they gave us free samples of everything, and it was all delicious.

This sign at the entrance to the dairy says, "Welcome to S'dei Bar. Goat's milk cheeses in the heart of the desert."

There is a little sitting area, and a store, where guests can enjoy hot drinks and goat's milk yogurts.

Here are some of the 150 goats of the farm. The boys who live here are responsible for their care. They go to their high school classes in the morning, and care for the goats in the afternoons. The goats have to be milked twice a day, at 6:00 a.m. and at 6:00 p.m. The milk has to be made into cheese and yogurt. The boys do it all. Isn't this better than being in jail or a juvenile detention center?

Another interesting industry that has been developed in the village is the manufacture of large pellets which can be used instead of wood logs for heating the house. Many of the olives grown in Israel, and especially in the Tekoa area, are used for producing olive oil. There is a lot of waste left over from the the process of pressing the olives. The broken olives are considered an environmental hazard and extremely toxic. The village figured out a way to compact the leftover olive pieces into pellets. They burn well, produce excellent heat, and are non-polluting. They're cheaper than wood, and using them conserves trees. Not only that, but the ash left over from burning them makes an excellent fertilizer! Now the village is working on a process to shape the broken olives into briquettes, which can be used instead of charcoal briquettes for grilling. Since everyone in this little country loves to barbeque, this is guaranteed to be a best-seller!

Next post: the last stop on our trip, the mountain palace of Herod, known as Herodion.

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