A Sar-el Canada veteran returns for the third time

My name is Max Rams, and for me this was my third time coming back to Israel volunteering with SAR EL. Each experience  with Sar EL  has had both similarities and differences. Similar in that I was there to help do things that the IDF needed done so that soldiers could concentrate on what they needed to do, yet different because this time as the pilot announced that we are now in Israeli air space. I said to myself that I was home. Thank You Sar EL.

As you land you start to wonder what you will be doing and who you are going to meet. I think not knowing where you are going is part of the excitement.  On this trip I was going to Matzrap which is a medical base responsible for all of the medical supplies for the entire IDF.  I had  first heard a lot of good things about Matzrap and how important it is to the IDF from other volunteers on previous trips.

Getting to the base, we then get a chance to see our actual accommodations, and I have to say they were very nice. The men stayed on one floor and the women stayed on another. For the men the showers and everything else that we needed was just down the hall and I am sure that it was the same for the women. Our rooms were very spacious and even had air conditioning. Did I tell you that you could do your own laundry here?

Each day started with  breakfast at the hadar ochel (dining room),  followed by flag raising, the singing of Hatikvah, and the Madrichot giving us the news of the day. (every day a different person had the opportunity to raise the flag)

We were given army uniforms, and there was also a little ceremony where the Madrichot presented us with two shoulder epaulettes for our shirts that clearly identified us as volunteers.

Before starting our work assignmentsm we were introduced to various people  on the base, including the base commander..He welcomed us to the base and also gave us a synopsis of what this base does for the IDF. The commander spoke in Hebrew and one of our Madrichot  translated.. Hopefully after a few more times volunteering with Sar-El I might be fluent enough in Hebrew to not need someone translating for me.

Various jobs on this base included packing vests for the medics, packing the large bags used in setting up field hospitals, checking unused vests and medical bags for out-of-date or soon to expire equipment and supplies, and distribution of all of the above.

We would have a break for lunch and come back to continue our work in the afternoon. If we finished early.  Instead of going back to the barracks we always looked to help the other volunteers do what they were doing.

After our jobs were completed for the day we went back to the barracks. We showered and got ready for dinner. The day did not end there.  We had an evening activity that was planned by the Madrichot. This activity educated us on the State of Israel, The IDF, Hebrew Slang and so much more.

This was our routine for the time that we were there. I would not change a thing.

This story first appeared in the Hamilton Jewish News and is reproduced with the permission of the author.

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