So yesterday we started at 0400 for final photos. Got back at about 0530 and I basically slept until 1300. Then at 1430 my group was one of the groups that had to go out to the site for more mandatory volunteering. Remember all those sandbags that we filled, moved, and stacked? Yeah, all those had to go back. They were stacked by the Missile Silo (what we call the place we keep the tools, about 30-40 feet north of the temple podium) and we had to move them to the south end of the Early Shrine. The south end of the shrine is about 30-40 feet from the north end of the temple podium. So about 70 feet these things had to be moved. Not too bad, right? Except that the shrine was built on bedrock, the temple was built over the shrine, and the ground is currently about level with the temple podium in that area. Remember the picture I posted that showed how far down we had dug? We had to move the sandbags from the top of the wall to where I was standing (or at least that’s the vertical distance). It’s enough of a drop that we need a ladder to get down there. Okay, now it’s seeming a bit worse. Only it gets worse. The bags are made of burlap. Sand and dirt is smaller than the holes in the burlap weaving. These things are very very dusty. And of course I ended up as the dirtiest out of everyone by the end of it.
Instead of having each person carry the bags all the way from the Silo to the shrine, we had a sort of “sandbag brigade” going on. Except we had three “sub-brigades” going in it. We had one group that got the bags from the Silo to the podium, a few people to get the bags from the podium to the shrine area, and another group passing the bags to the shrine itself where they were stacked. Dan arranged the line so that the strongest people were moving the bags from the podium to the shrine, because walking on bedrock isn’t the easiest thing. He put me as the first person in the shrine area. I was taking them from Paul, who was up on the podium, and passing them to the rest of the brigade down in the shrine area. Only the podium is about a meter above my head when I’m standing on the bedrock. Before it all started, Paul and I decided that the easiest way to get the bags from him to me would be for him to basically drop them into my arms and have me catch them. Not too bad, right? Just catching sandbags that have been dropped over a meter. Only these things are freaking heavy. The light ones probably weigh about 35 pounds. The heavy ones are about 55-60 pounds. See, people cheat when they fill them. In order to move less sand/dirt, they put some rocks in the bags as well. So I’m having to catch 50 pound sandbags that have been dropped from a meter above my head. And every bag is accompanied by a dust cloud when I catch it. There were at least 100 bags. By the first water break about 15 minutes in, I was covered in dirt. By the end of it, my glasses were so dirty I could barely see and I was chewing on dirt because my mouth was so dried out.
Then in the evening we went to a Druze village for dinner. They’re the people who made us the falafel every Friday, and we got more of the same yesterday. Awesomeness.
Then I woke up this morning at about 0900 (since we had final photos yesterday, we got to sleep in today). Apparently catching 500 pounds worth of sandbags that have been dropped from over your head makes your arms and shoulders really really really can I say REALLY sore the next day…. I don’t think it’s a good thing if you can feel your own knots without touching them….
Today the squares are divided up for some extra work around the Kib to clean everything up for next year. In about 15 minutes, my square is taking stuff from the Bomb Shelter to one of the storage places that we have. Other groups are taking things to other places at different times, and then the last (and possibly least lucky) group is actually cleaning the Bomb Shelter — sweeping/mopping the floors, etc.
Tomorrow morning we leave for Jerusalem. I’ll probably post something again before we leave.