Saturday, 31 March 2012

South Tel Aviv

Tuna Tuesday 27 March 2012

We normally have small tours (Siyurim) around Jerusalem as a part of our program, but this time we took a bus ride, all 30 of us, to Tel Aviv.

Before we left for Shnat, one of the main selling points they had for us when we argued that it would all be Pro Israel-Make Aliyah! propaganda was that they would take us to the shitty parts of Israel too. Now, I come from a country where poverty is basically right in your ace and social inequality is littered through the streets of our suburbs, but here you have to go literally right off the map out to the outskirts of the cities to find it. Yes, we have that in Africa too, but its way worse than anything here.

Our tour guide told us that when he brings South Africans on these tours they always tell him that there's way worse poverty where they come from, so Lily n I had a little chuckle, because it's so true. We were walking through these streets and people from American and England were shocked and we were wondering why they have paved roads and fancy cars. It was so odd.

We started our day log Siyur in /south Tel Aviv. It's basically an informal settlement on the outskirts of the City. People decided to live there because they needed a place to stay and there wasn't anywhere that they could afford so they made their own. It isn't considered a part of the city, its not even on the maps. The houses were dilapidated and none of the streets had names. The mail man had to know everyone so that they would get their mail. Our guide told us all about how the government decided to try and improve the conditions by building a high rise of apartments, but because people were afraid they would get kicked out of their homes, they lied on the survey for how many people lived there and so not enough houses were built. There were a few synagogues and people who had decorated their houses in odd ways to make it more homely. We saw Muels and Chickens and a dog that no one wanted to touch because it probably had rabies.
Ah, First world people. Gotta love 'em!

This is an Informal Settlement in South Africa called Kliptown.
This is the "Informal Settlement" in South Telk Aviv.
Thats the High Rise Apartment building in the background.
These are the Muels.
Next on our walking tour of Tel Aviv was through a suburb where they haven't got a good education system and most people spend their lives trying to get out instead of making it a better place to live. We spoke about how kids are tracked into being either a good kid or a really bad kid and then spend their whole lives in that stereotype.
It made me think back to when I was in grade 7 and I was pout in the lowest class for maths, and then in the lowest class for maths I was put in the stupid row of desks so that the teacher just didn't have to deal with us. When I got to high school, my mathematical education was way far behind and so I failed dismally. By the time I got to grade 10, I couldn't do maths and was forced to take Mathematical Literacy. Thereby limiting my job opportunities and the amount of points I'd get for university entrance.
Why do we do this to kids? Why don't we just allow people to try as hard as they can and encourage growth and development? We have the power to grow into anything we can! Why don't we allow it to happen, were stunting our own intellectual growth because were trying so hard to make people fit into a system, a mold that we're creating for ourselves.
I cant help think that if I hadn't been put in a stupid class and encouraged to try harder, having my educators set the standards just a little higher that I might have actually surprised them.

This is graffitti in the neighbourhood.
The rest of the afternoon we walked through places like red light districts and sat in the Refugee Park and spoke about what we could do to help the people there. They're being deported because they're not citizens and had to escape their countries, but they don't want to go back obviously. We spoke about how the Jewish people should be more welcoming because that's exactly what happened to us. We tried to escape slavery so many times, and now thank goodness we have a country but we should be more empathetic to people with the same plight.

We spoke about how people in dilapidated places or in places where they feel like they can't get out and do something with their lives or make a change don't really have any kind of wanting to do it. So things get increasingly worse and worse and people just want to leave more and more. Its a vicious cycle of poverty and hatred that could easily be remedied by people trying to make the world a better place. TIKKUN OLAM! Better the world!
Off to Rothschild street and a stop for the best ice cream I've ever had. Chocolate Stratechella. Chloe would be so proud.
We ended our tour in a building that the government gave to the people protesting the price of houses last year during the tent protests. We decided that were going to do something about it and spent the better part of the next four hours eating pizza and brainstorming ways we could help refugees. I want to start an organisation that will help them find jobs and get Isralie citizen ship or even just places to live while they're sorting their lives out. People cant sleep in a PARK!

We sang on the bus ride home and after dinner we all sat around in the flat just hanging out. For some reason we had moved all the couches around and there was more space for activities. I made so many posters out of pure boredom.