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
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
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
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.