3/10/2006

Like Summer Camp, But With Guns


I'm not quite sure what I was expecting while volunteering for the army, but I have had the most insane two weeks of my life. The sleep has been lacking, the food has been too greasy, and the sleeping conditions are sub-par. But I am loving it! Interestingly enough, while my whole year is supposed to make me feel connected and a part of Israel, nothing has worked so well as the army. While living in places like Kiryat Malachi showed me issues that many people, even living in Israel, never see, participating in an Israeli rite of passage like the army has done wonders to make me feel right at home here.

Here's how I've been spending my time at the base
Continued...

The base is called Q'tzyiot. It is south of Gaza right on the Egytian border and totally desert all around. The purpose of the base is to be stocked in case there was ever a war and it is our job to help make sure the hundreds of warehouses have the right things inside of them. As you can imagine, we have seen a lot of action.

We arrived and first unpacked. Our room has seven girls squashed into a space the size of a small kitchen (four bunk beds back to back). We then got our uniforms. Girl army uniforms are actually pretty cute booty pants. What I didn't know was that these are not what is worn on base. The attractive clothing is called A(alef) class and what we got was (one pair of for the whole week) referred to as B(bet) class. These are your typical army green baggy cargo pants and shirts. I cannot explain how rank these two pieces of clothing were at the end of the first week.

The passing out of uniforms took all day and dinner followed. I'll just take a quick moment to describe the food situation. Every meal has an Israeli salad (only cucumbers and tomatoes) but this salad is glistening with grease. I can see my reflection in it. If there is meat, the base can often be counted on to serve a big pot of chopped up hotdogs and other miscellaneous canned veggies, also infused with grease of course.
The days begin with 6:30 calisthenics, then we eat, raise the flag, and then go to work. The first day we were driven to a huge warehouse that was filled with bottles of water. It was our job to move these into a huge truck and then put them in another warehouse. So we made an assembly line and tossed big packs of liter bottles into a truck all morning. When this was full, it was driven to another warehouse where we were told to put the bottles of water into. But the shelves that the bottles were to go on were holding large boxes of copy paper. These needed to be moved first. Then the truck was emptied. Then it was lunch time.

Doing tasks such as this, along with painting shelves army green and sweeping up sand out of warehouse and into boxes, not just back to the desert is how I have been spending the last two weeks. One day I got to clean out a warehouse with a fire hose! This was probably one of the most fun things I've ever cleaned with. Apparently firehoses are standard issued cleaning equipment in the army.

1 Comments:

Blogger The Lawless Rhynas Sow said...

Hi
I was searching my name on google and thought it was funny we have the same name Jessica Mauer are both travelers and only 2 years difference in age!
Thought you might find that intresting.
Jessica Mauer
jllmauer@yahoo.com

6:17 AM  

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