There is always a need for volunteers to help out on the Nassar family farm. In addition to supporting the actual work carried out on the land, the presence of international volunteers helps keep the Israeli Military and illegal settlers off the land. Volunteers provide a cadré of possible eyewitnesses to any effort to demolish animal pens, trees, compost toilets, tents, etc.; you need to be both hard-working and observant.
The Tent of Nations website has a volunteer application form with detailed descriptions of the kinds of work needed to be done there. All volunteers are expected to help defray the costs of their time on the farm, which sounds like an oxymoron: Who pays someone for the privilege of volunteering? Well, it is a privilege in so many ways, but there is an expense present that the family is not yet able to cover. They are on their way to making the farm self-sufficient, but that time has not yet come. Meanwhile, there is food and water to pay for, laundry needs, bedding, transportation costs, etc. that must be covered. The fee is minimal, and it decreases for the long-term volunteers.
The biggest benefits to volunteering on the farm come in small packages:
- planting a tree and nurturing the roots as they take a strong hold in the rocky soil;
- picking grapes and watching them turned into wine, raisins, jam;
- hauling rocks and turning them into walls of support;
- watching as a child at the Summer Camp smiles as he or she pets a donkey for the first time or swings high into the freedom of the open air;
- learning about yourself and the wider world around you;
- getting to know others from around the world;
- giving back when you are given so much;
- singing around an open campfire with friends and colleagues after a day of hard work;
- picking olives or almonds or apples or figs, one at a time; and
- sharing a glorious sunset in a part of the world you never expected to visit – the Holy Land.
You pay a small price for these memories; you reap huge personal rewards from your work.
Friends of Tent of Nations North America (FOTONNA) is looking for ways to support individuals who would like to travel to the farm and work there but who may not have the financial means to do so. There are two ways to seek financial aid through our Scholarship Funds: 1) If traveling by yourself, you would need to contact Kay Plitt, a FOTONNA Steering Committee member, for information and an application form (firstname.lastname@example.org); you would also need to complete the general application form on the TON website. We are prepared to help with some of your travel expenses and all of your volunteer expenses for as long as you spend time on the farm, but you must stay for at least four weeks or longer; 2) If you travel with an Interfaith Peace-Builders (IFPB) tour, you must agree to stay on at the end of the tour and volunteer on the farm for at least two weeks. We can help cover your travel expenses, if you qualify, and all of your volunteer expenses.
This is a new project that FOTONNA has taken on, and we will be working out details as we go. We simply want to support as many people as possible as they reach out to become part of the solution and not be part of the problem. Who knows? Maybe your actions will be seen as part of what makes Peace in the Middle East possible.
Thank you for considering becoming part of an ever-growing group of individuals who love justice.