The story of Ariel Charlotte, a young Canadian volunteer who came to the Kibbutz to find herself



My time in Israel was coming to an end. Now the hardest part is coming, travel to Palestine, to return to Spain, present the research and plunge into the vortex of the crisis and youth unemployment. Despite this, I was sure I would find a way to survive. There is always a way to achieve the goals we set, all we have to do is search and not give up until the end.


It was not my style to say goodbye to the people I met on my journeys, I rather prefer to leave with a comfortable afterwards. I always thought that when one door closes, a new window opens.


Such was life in Ein-Hashofet, volunteers come and go like waves aimlessly. They live three or six months experience and then return to their countries. There are some exceptional cases in which any of the volunteers falls for a kibbutznik staying here forever, or ulpanists to make aliyah to live in Israel asking to be new members, such as the history of Alex Findlay. But most of the volunteers are passing.


I asked Ariel, my roommate, which is making the case right now to fly to Canada to tell me her experience as a volunteer.


If I had to describe Ariel would write she was an adventure princess. Always willing to travel the country by hitchhiking with me, on the Sabbath (when everything is dead in Israel including public transport), to sleep in the desert with a broken tent, or leave the room into the unknown for a parachute jump.


As described in four lines the character of Ariel in the computer room, with a bunch of guys playing war games on computers next to me, Ricardo, another volunteer from Guddatemala, and perhaps her best friend, informed us that at 20:30h  would make a bomb fire to say bye to her. The farewells at Kibbutz used to burn wood in the middle of the forest, while we all gathered around and we collected our signatures on a sheet of paper to the person who was leaving.


As I said in previous post everyone had a story, this is the story of Ariel Charlotte Guimond. Young Canadian Christian 19, who decided to come as a volunteer at Kibbutz Ein-Hashofet to find herself, to obtain the control of her life.



“My time here is winding down much faster than I would like it too and it is almost up. As each day passes I take it more slowly, holding on to every minute I have left.


I am beginning to think of what I am going to do once I go back home to Canada.


All the stories I will tell my friends and family. I know the first thing my mom will ask me is (how was it). Not all that specific or anything, though when I start thinking of how I am going to answer her, a million memories come to mind and I begin to get lost in them.


Sometimes I catch myself reminiscing at work.


Being here I have learned so many things and I have the opportunity to meet some amazing people. The experience itself is priceless, and it is exactly what I came here for.


Working at ELTAM, the factory of the Kibbutz, is something I know I will miss. Yes, the work is easy and most days go by pretty slow, but the people who work their make it special. I went from hanging batteries to I am not sure exactly what to call it but putting plastic parts on wires. Straightening wire and then in the end I ended up working with six amazing ladies. Even though all I was doing was putting the caps on the ballets the cutting the wire to fit them, I enjoyed it. Working with the ladies was fun. I remember our corner being called the book club. We would talk about everything.


They really made me feel like I belonged to their section.


I have learned it is not the work that can make your day different or better, or the factory, but the people. Everyone saying good morning as you start your day and all the conversations I can remember having with people I am going to miss. If it was not for the people I work with I think I just may have lost my mind.


Being a volunteer I had the chance to meet lots of new people and make friends with people from all around the world. Iara was one of the first people I met when I came here. She has been my roommate, friend and mentor from the beginning. I remember being placed in her room and I could not believe my luck. Iara is a journalist and I want to be a journalist. She had encouraged me to write more and given me advice on not only writing, but everything.


There have been some nights were the two of us would just stay up talking about everything. She is been like an older sister to me all through my time being here. Of course there are those days we could just kill eachother, but even looking back now I am going to miss it all.


I have gotten to know some pretty cool people during stay here. I have had the chance to hear all their stories and see the change in them as they go through their own personal experiences here.


Everyone of these volunteers are so completely different and unique. One Michael a boy, who is working in the zoo with animals, I swear could be a zoo keeper later and now. He knows everything about everyone of the animals he works with. I remember how excited he would get when one of his animals had babies.


Alex, a girl who is working with the children is the same. If you asked her about her day, her face would light up and she would have tons of funny stories about her kids. She always goes on these massive 5 hours long hikes, she calls them «walks» but they are actually hikes. One time staying out all night at this party in the forest, Alex, Ruben, Bean, Toni and l had to walk back in the morning.


The sun was just rising and it was beautiful, though it must have been a good three hours walk back.


All of us were complaining and walking slow, but Alex was up front commenting on the landscape and how it would be so nice if she could paint it.  When we finally got back to the Kibbutz everyone crashed and went to bed, but Alex wanted to go on another “walk”.


These are times I will never forgot and look back at and laugh. I am going to miss being able to just walk next door and watch movies with these guys, asking people if I can borrow their Colbo card because I used all the money on mine. I am going to miss the computer room. The one place where all the volunteers and ulpanists can get internet connection and skype with friends and family even if it is so loud that the person on the other side can not really hear you.


Everyone I have met here has changed me in some way and I will always look back at all different memories with them. I hope to stay in contact. 


My experience here in Israel has taught me many things. First, and most important: I do not need to take my passport everywhere I go, because I just might lose it. It is a bad idea to take your camera with you canoeing down the Jordan river, and third, learn to let it go and live with it; because if you can not do that, then life is going to be so much harder.


I come to Israel for an experience and to learn about the culture history and the Judaism more. I have traveled to all the places I would like to see and done things I never thought I would in my entire life (Sky diving, tattoo…) I have seen things I have never seen before (street fight in Tel Aviv) and been told things I never thought would impact me so much (“It is a disgrace to wear your cross”)


Overall everything that has happened to me is what was intended for me. So I will greafully take it and be happy. I am who I am for it and I know I will look back and say I lived every moment I was there.


So when I go back to Canada and my mom asks me “How was it” I think I will say: priceless”