Walking the Negev

By Sigrid Jorgensen, 18-year-old University of St. Andrews student

My journey along the Abraham Path started in Beersheva. We set out by taking a short cut through a dry field where wild crocus plants had begun to bloom. The wild crocus flowers were beautiful and an interesting contrast to the dry brown dirt.

After crossing over a junction we continued through a plantation of trees. On the other side of the plantation we got to one of the best parts of the trip, we walked through a tunnel that was about six feet (a little under two meters) high. As we walked my sister and I started singing and as our song echoed through the tunnel, my sister forgot about her claustrophobia.

We followed the dried out creek that usually flows through the tunnel, until we reached a dirt path through a dry area with trees dispersed along the path. When the path turned 90 degrees we began walking up and down hills. Here we found a shady spot surrounded by eucalyptus trees and ate or lunch.

After lunch we discussed “hospitality” and how it was present throughout the Torah. I enjoyed our talk because it added a nice touch to the trip, making it easier to connect to the history of Abraham’s journey. Afterwards we continued our journey and entered an unrecognized Bedouins town.

All of the Bedouin houses were made out of makeshift material and it seemed like they might collapse at any time. The makeshift houses reminded you of the precarious nature of their lives. It was as if the buildings themselves knew that one day they might be knocked down simply because the government had not granted licenses to build the houses.

The town also had many animal pens, black water tanks and a few solar panels. Because the town was unrecognized, the residents did not have access to running water and electricity, hence the water tanks and solar panels.

Whenever we passed groups of children they would smile and yell “Hi!” Sometimes the younger kids would just stand in the background staring, while the older kids went to investigate. We passed through the town just as kids were coming home from school. As the busses drove by we were with shouts from the children and clouds of dust.

As we crossed the border between the unrecognized and recognized Bedouin towns, there was a startling difference between the houses. The houses suddenly stood multiple stories high with gates surrounding them and play trucks sitting in driveways.

Our journey ended at a NGO called Lakiya Negev Weaving, where we were greeted with tea and shown the weaving process. Lakiya Negev Weaving is a cooperative of multiple women working to create all types of carpets, pillow covers, bags, etc. Everything was handmade, from the spinning of the wool in to yarn, to the actual weaving.

This was a great way to end our journey because it showed how ancient paths intertwine with lives in a modern world. I really enjoyed this trip, and I hope that if you decide to walk this portion of the Abraham Path, that your journey will be just as incredible.