It is my great pleasure to report we are finally in-country. After quite a long trip everyone has safely arrived at their new temporary home. Several team members arrived several days ahead of the main group and have gone ahead and cleared the site of thistles, which meant that day one of the excavation was devoted solely to setting up the tents. With everything moving ahead so rapidly, we can get stuck in with the good stuff straight away: proper excavation.
Day two already saw us scraping the soil, with people from all corners of the world working on virtually every corner of the building. For some, work consisted of nothing more than preparing new ground for excavation by carrying a lot of stones to a new dump area. Others have already been able to start working their way through topsoil. We`ve turned up a surprising amount of roof tiles so far, which will further help to give us an understanding of the general size of the building itself. Everyone has also acquainted themselves with the scorching heat (38 Celsius) and the powerful west wind that blows into the valley from about 11 o`clock in the morning.
There is a surprising amount of scorpions this year, with at least five getting flying lessons on day two already. We`ve also spotted the first snake, but he was quite happy to slither along to the next patch of tall grass. The resident mouse has also returned to hide out under staff tent when it is down at night.
|The newest member of our 'flying circus'|
The Karei Deshe guest house itself hasn`t changed much in the meantime. There is a new cook, but his skills in preparing chicken are about equal to the one he succeeded. The beds are the same, the swallows racing around the courtyard don`t seem to have changed. The only significant difference is the water level in the lake. The past winter has been exceptionally wet, resulting in a water level which hasn`t been seen for nearly a decade. In previous years, the beach would start where the trees would stop. This year, the lake starts where the trees stop. Any flooded reeds are also quite far away which should make swimming much more enjoyable.
|See, excavation is funness!|
Both the volunteers and the staff have already settled into their ‘digging life’. Everyone knows where the drinking water can be tapped, where snacks and beer can be bought and which cake they prefer for the early morning sugar breakfast. Personally, I`ve grown tired of the food already, but I also feel that it should be so. Being stuck with chicken for four weeks, eating hummus which can best be described as ‘meh’ and drinking beer which does not rank much higher than that has become an intricate part of the Horvat Kur experience. There is something comfortably familiar about its taste. It tells you that you are on an adventure where personal comforts cannot always take pride of place and where luxuries become something you will well and truly enjoy. This is what makes the taste of Taybeh so fantastic, the dinner trip so special and the evenings out in the lake so magical.
Signing off for now,
The Lost Dutchman