This blog post was contributed by Tamar Ariel, FoEME intern at our Tel Aviv office.
On Tuesday September 21, 2010 Friends of Earth Middle East began filming in the Jordan Valley for a short educational movie it is creating about its activities, goals, and successes in Israel, Palestine, and Jordan. Filming will also take place in Palestine and Jordan and will be in Arabic, English, and Hebrew.
The filming took place in Degania A and B, Kochav ha’Yarden, the Peace Island, a dam on the Kinneret and others. It included interviews with local residents, high school students, FoEME’s Jordan Valley organizer Hagai Oz, and FoEME’s Education Coordinator in Israel Amy Lipman Avizohar, each explaining his/her perspective of local FoEME activities and water issues. The filming was an opportunity to see just how much impact FoEME has on the lives of the residents of this community, especially the young ones.
In the morning we filmed at the Beit Hinuch Elementary School, were FoEME helped build containers that collect rainwater to be used in the schools bathrooms as “grey water.” Most telling was how these containers became an integral part of the school setting. Students had painted pictures and designs of suns, clouds, etc. on each container thereby ensuring that it would not blend in with the buildings, rather always stand out, serving as a reminder of this important “green” feature of their school. FoEME Jordan Valley Organizer Hagai Oz explained to the camera that while using “green water” in the school does not solve the water crisis, it has a snowball effect in the lives of these students and their families in terms of the environmental lessons they learn and decisions they make.
Late in the afternoon we went to the Beit Yerach High School to film at an outdoor classroom/compost and recycling site. The beautiful classroom had been built the previous week out of used materials such as covered automobile tires, school binder clips, and items that were found near trash cans. It is unbelievable that the entire classroom was built by 3 adults and a group of about 30 students in only 5 days. It is both a practical and beautiful learning space and serves as a lesson itself. A student at the school who had not seen it yet, could not believe that what was once so ugly was now so beautiful and environmentally efficient. She was excited about what the FoEME club at the school could add to the space.
One of the most emotional moments of the day was when one of the Youth Water trustees, while sitting at Kochav haYarden overlooking her house, described meeting Jordanian and Palestinian kids at a FoEME event in Jordan. She explained that the event gave her the opportunity to see that the other kids were just like her despite coming from a different culture. She said that coming home from Jordan, she saw her town from the Jordanian view and realized how they must view her as foreign. Hearing her eloquence on camera and her deep understanding of the situation, I saw how committed she has become to environmental cooperation at such a young age due to the opportunities FoEME has presented her.