Day One in Area Q

Peter Ostrin writes:

My work week begins on a Sunday morning, usually the first day in a week sitting in an air conditioned office looking at a computer screen. Today’s work week began at 4am. No office, no A/C, no computers just 115 semi-strangers on a bus. After the drive to the Tel, we trudged up the hill, those of us new to this, full of expectation and curiosity.

I’m lucky enough to have been assigned to Area Q, clearly the best place to work on the Tel. Last night after dinner we were introduced to our leaders, Norma the magnificent, Ian and John the able assistants, Phillipe the unusual, and Jen our capable registrar. Look out for scorpions and snakes they said. Drink as much as you can and then more and apply sunblock often. We were sent off to bed wondering what today, day one, would be like.

In the half light the black shade covering our area hid what lay below.  As soon as the Area Q team all arrived at our site which is on top of the Tel, Phillipe had us rushing down the hill to get tools, “before the best ones are taken”. Many trips up and down later, we had wheelbarrows, picks, hoes, many metal bars, a “camera tower” and a desk for Jen. Sunrise over Mount Tabor in the distance was spectacular I hear, we never really got to see as we were propping up our shade with multiple plastic drain pipes. (see picture)

We weeded and cleaned around our squares under Norma’s watchful eye and amid curious looks from the cows sent up to eat off the ground cover. We marked out clear paths to and around our area, with strict instructions to stick to the path at all times. At 8:30 we went down for breakfast in a shady grove near the parks department buildings at the entrance to the park.

After breakfast the real joy began. Sandbagging. We broke up the old bags around our squares and filled new ones to replaced the old. These protect the edge of the square and look good in pictures (according to Phillipe). This is dusty, messy work. Our team performed like champs, I am most impressed with the commitment, camaraderie and teamwork – it was all quite an experience. We are fortunate to be here to see how the site is prepared for the rest of the season.

I must admit by the time 1pm came around and it was time to clear up and put away the tools, I was quite exhausted. My head was pounding from the sun and even though I drank more than 3 liters of water, I was feeling quite out of it. Reaching my room, which after one day already feels like home, was fantastic. I was so bushed, I skipped lunch, choosing a shower and a sleep instead.  Strangely enough even with all the heat and sand and trips up and down the Tel, I loved it.


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