I enjoyed my first day volunteering at Lasova soup kitchen. Lasova, provides a free and decent meal to the needy population of south Tel Aviv in a clean and friendly environment. On the morning of my first day, I got the bus from Jaffa where i live with eight other participants from the Tikkun Olam program. I had no idea what to expect when i got there. We arrived at the restaurant in time for an orientation with Elad who is the volunteer coordinator there. He explained to what Lasova is all about and the day to day running of the place as well as what needed to be done. He also introduced me to the other volunteers who come from all over the world; from places like the UK, Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina, Germany and of course Israel. They were warm and friendly and made me feel comfortable right away.
At 10, the restaurant door was opened and people, who would otherwise not have access to a meal, walked in. We started to serve them food consisting of soup, bread, rice, chicken etc. They could refill however much they wanted and could also pack food to take with them for their next meal. The other volunteers and I served, cleaned the tables and waited on them.
It didn’t take much to make them laugh or smile. They asked me where I was from and how it is like there. One guy asked me if I knew that Israel was supposed to be in Uganda, he said that we could have been neighbours if it had happened. It is also a great place to practice the Hebrew that I have learned in ulpan, one of the ladies asked me for more soup and I gave her salt because the Hebrew name for soup “marak” sounded to me like “malach” which is salt. We both laughed about it when I then realised what she wanted. Later on in the day, when we were done with serving, we cleaned all the tables and the floor. It felt so good to be able to help this way and see the results and to meet people from different walks of life.
Sarah Nabaggala, a 26 year old law graduate from Mbale Uganda, is a participant on our Tikkun Olam post college program. Each week Sarah will be writing a blog sharing her experiences of what it is like living in Jaffa, volunteering with asylum seekers, refugees and the homeless as well as studying at BINA.