Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Day 1: The Kibbutz

Today was the first day of our Young Entrepreneurs Trip (#YoungTreps2015) with 25 young South African entrepreneurs to Israel and Palestine.
Having boarded our flight at OR Tambo at 14:20, enduring a 2,5 hour stop over in Addis Ababa, we landed in Tel Aviv just before 03:00 this morning.
After a 4 hour road trip to the southern desert part of the country, we arrived at Kibbutz Lohan to the sad news of the tragic passing of Minister in the Presidency, Hon. Collins Chabane. I was very saddened by the news as he was a dear friend to Given and we had developed a great friendship and played some good golf games together. I am still under shock and my sincerest condolences go out to his family, friends and colleagues.
Back to our trip. We visited two Kibbutzim, one an agriculture research centre that focuses on bespoke solutions and research for the farming community of the Kibbutzim. Amongst other things, they run equipment that is able to control the temperature of crops notwithstanding natural climate. We then visited a cow milking farm which milks 650 cows every 2,5 hours with the employ of only 2 people (we decided to call them ‘Titmen’) with everything else automated (see picture above).
We concluded the evening by having two sessions. The first was a detailed introduction to each other and we heard presentations (which I learned are called Pecha Kucha) from Dan Brotman, Executive Director of The South Africa Israel Forum, Ntuthuko Shezi, Founder of that cool ‘You fly. We fix’ business, Scratch Mobile and now an aspirant farmer and preserver of the Zulu language.
The second was the honour of meeting a young 26 year old lady, Emily, who became a source of huge inspiration after we heard her story of courage and perseverance. She then gave us a lesson on the history of Israel. You can imagine the questions and comments from bright South Africans about Israeli politics. Interesting stuff I tell you.
Tomorrow we are off to Tel Aviv with alternative energy as the day’s focus. Can’t wait! AK

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