Botany and Ormiston Times
Howick and Pakuranga Times : Howick and Pakuranga Times Thursday June 19 2014
www.times.co.nz Howick and Pakuranga Times, Thursday, June 19, 2014 — 5 By FARIDA MASTER WALKING through the sacred pages of biblical history can be a surreal experience. Elim Christian College is one of only a few New Zealand schools that take an annual trip to the Holy Land, Israel. Assistant principal Carol Pot- tow has been organising the tour for the past eight years and says: “It brings the culture and history alive. “Walking in where Jesus Christ was born [Church of the Nativ- ity, Bethlehem] is an incredible experience. “There is so much beauty as the old world is juxtaposed with the ultra modern world. Israel is a country of great contrasts. “Tel Aviv is a first-world city that beautifully integrates with the ancient city of Jerusalem.” Bailey Booth, a student who went on the school trip last year to the land of religious diversity and natural wonders, says that apart from the fun factor, exotic food and shopping, it was a deeply mov- ing experience. “I felt more empathetic with the characters in the Bible and the difficulties they faced,” says the 17-year-old. “It was like living the pages of the Bible, as I tried to imagine how Moses walked for 40 years, and how tough it must have been to pull a cart in the hilly and rocky region. “In year 10, we study a unit on the history of Israel, so it was amazing to experience all that we learnt. “We soaked in different cultures, visited the modern parliament building in the dust-coloured city of Jerusalem, saw the Holocaust Museum, swam in Galilee and the Dead Sea, were at the Mount of Olives, enjoyed camel rides, met the locals and did lots more. “Israel being a small country is really accessible. “You can travel from the tip of the north to the south in six hours,” says Bailey, talking about the changing landscape. “There’s heat and rocks in Masada and then it’s incredibly green and tranquil with spectacu- lar landscapes. Now I know why people have lived there for so long. “The highlight was staying at the date palm plantation of Hatzeva Moshave, where we spent three to four days. “The place was so beautiful, the units were authentic Israeli with a swimming pool and it was where the local community hangs out. “Some of the Israeli kids joined the boys from our group on the hydro slide,” she says. Courtney Robinson, a year 12 student of Elim Christian Col- lege, is counting the days to July 3, when they take off on their much- awaited trip to the Middle East. “My older sister Hannah went three years ago to Israel and now I’ve heard all the stories, I can’t wait to visit the places in the Bible and learn about a new culture,” she says. Israel, once seen as a country of constant strife, is now one of the top holiday destinations in the world. Little wonder Mrs Pottow has been approached by almost 30 schools in New Zealand wanting to know more about organising a trip to Israel. “We have all our measures in place and don’t go where there is any kind of conflict,” she says. “One of our teachers who accom- panied the students remarked it was one of the safest places to be.” As a teacher, Mrs Pottow finds it a rewarding experience. “To see the incredible joy on the students’ faces and the amazing transformation as they mature is an amazing experience. “It’s a life impacting trip, apart from the fact it’s part of our belief in the Bible,” she says. Pilgrimage to Holy Land CAMEL CARAVAN: Riding through the biblical landscape of the Negev Desert near the Dead Sea, left; Elim Christian College year 12 students on the Mount of Olives, Jerusalem. Photos supplied Volunteers recognised Solutions, with the Citizens Advice Bureau NATIONAL Volunteer Week is held each year in the third week of June. This week until Saturday, we celebrate the volunteering community and the invaluable contribution it makes in New Zealand. Volunteerism offers an environment for sharing knowledge and skills in a way that benefits the surrounding community. The energy of volunteers in Aotearoa is felt throughout our local, national and global society. This year we celebrate National Vol- unteer Week in Te Reo Maori, with the whakatauki (Maori proverb): Naku te rourou nau te rourou ka ora ai te tangata. It translates into English: “With your contribution and my contribution the people will live.” The whakatauki refers to the three baskets of knowledge from Maori legend: kete tuauri, kete tuatea, kete aronui. These baskets of darkness, light and pursuit reflect the ways in which vol- unteers contribute to the future of their communities, with the knowledge and energy that they possess. We are proud of New Zealand’s lead- ing role in the efforts made by our many volunteers. The sense of unity that is created from this is celebrated throughout National Volunteer Week as together we celebrate, raise awareness and encourage more effective volunteering in Aotearoa. ■ Solutions is a column from the Pakuranga Citizens Advice Bureau, Library Building, Aylesbury Street, Pakuranga, phone 576-8331; or Botany CAB, phone 271-5382, or 0800-367-222. It’s a free, confidential and informative service. recognised NATIONAL Volunteer Week is held each KIWIRADIIRATA YOUR ONE STOP HEATING SHOP 125269 WE’RE TURNING UP THE HEAT! 1/2 PRICE FLUE KIT SAVE UP TO $300! DESIGNED IN NEW ZEALAND. MANUFACTURED IN NEW ZEALAND. INSPIRED BY NEW ZEALAND. AND LOVED BY NEW ZEALANDERS. * Offer is valid until Monday June 30 2014 on selected models.
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