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Several years ago I travelled to Israel on a 10-day trip. I immediately fell in love with the country and its people — the encouraging and affectionate way they spoke and looked at one another and the fact that all a person needed was a handshake and an offer to take part in another's creative project. I decided to return to do just that.

In the summer of 2010, with the support of the WWooF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) program, I volunteered as a welder and carpenter to help begin the ambitious project of transforming part of Marc Eliany's fruit farm in Sedot Micah, Israel into The Jewish Moroccan Museum for Living Culture. Eliany envisions this place as a tribute to his own cultural roots but also as a place where people could gather to discuss art and culture and where children would learn about Jewish Moroccan art and create their own.

I worked with several wonderful volunteers from around the United States: Alex, Sagrario, and Anais. My biggest achievement that summer was using recycled metal to build and weld the front entrance to the museum grounds. Other projects consisted of mixing and pouring concrete to lay foundation for walls of the museum building, laying down foam for ground insulation, cutting and re-using parts of existing grain dispensers as facades for the buildings, painting, gardening,  and learning how to prepare delicious Israeli meals.

Two years later, in the summer of 2012, I travelled to Morocco to study the intricate patterns and color in the traditional architecture of the country. Excited to paint murals with my research and new-found inspiration and to finish work on the two buildings, I returned once more to the site of Eliany's future Museum and Archive. Unfortunately, due to the issues with financially supporting a non-profit project with a volunteer-only work force, I found that there was still much structural work to be done. My main projects were strengthening the door frames in the museum building, building six custom doors partially out of recycled fences, and finally  fabricating a metal sliding door to complete the front entrance gate I started.

I do not know when I will get the chance to go back to this project, but hope all of Marc Eliany's goals are realized with the ongoing help of people looking to work on this inspiring and self-supporting project. 

For more information or to volunteer, visit: http://artengine.ca/eliany/html/sedotmicah/museumprojectdescription.html