This passage was written by Ameer Saleh, the local coordinator and trip leader for the recent University of Massachusetts Hillel Yahel Insight Program in the Druze village Maghar. UMass students spent 10 days in Maghar working with a local non-profit, Horizons for the Future and with help from many local community members, created a beautiful garden space at a local high school.
I’m sitting here in the garden on one of the seats by the tire table, the weather is perfect after a rainy night, just watered the plants one more time, walked around for a bit and sat down to share some thoughts with you. I really wish that you could be here to enjoy the garden with the locals. In the short period of time that I’ve been sitting here I was fascinated by what this garden has become, not only that it looks great, but mainly just seeing the school students enjoying sitting in the fresh air, younger children walking on the street and stopping to try to read the words on the mural in the 3 languages, and older men and women who came to walk around and look at what you guys have done! Great work! We never had a community garden before, and I have to admit I had my fears that the community won’t accept the new idea, but fortunately!, thanks to the spectacular work you did, I was wrong, seeing people of all ages wondering around is too fulfilling! THAT is exactly the power of youth to start change! We did volunteer and made new friends and learned about the cultures of both sides, but most importantly, we started change in the people’s thinking and openness! So behalf of my community I would like to thank you all deeply for coming, volunteering and being part of our lives!!!