Two weeks ago I got back from my trip to Israel with my close friend Anna. Anna is from a small town in the central part of Russia, called Cherepovets. I met her on vacation in Egypt a few years ago, and we immediately connected. I was amazed by her adventurous spirit and lust for life. It is the closest long-distance friendship in my life. We travelled all around Italy together and went to Cyprus. This year, she came to Israel to spend time with me and explore this fantastic country together. We’ve met many amazing people during our time there, but Zabu will always have a special place in my heart. Our friendship was born in a happy accident.
Together with my close friend Anna we went to Ein Gedi: a kibbutz located on the western shore of the Dead Sea. It is an oasis, a hidden gem in the middle of the desert. There are a couple of hotels and a hostel where we planned to stay. Due to our spontaneity, we haven’t booked anything in advance. When we arrived there, it turned out that all the accommodations were overbooked for the weekend, so the only option we had left was to sleep on the beach covered in salt.
So we decided to take action. The kibbutz itself is private property, sort of a small village with a population of 580 people. We came upon a security guard, explained the situation and asked him if he might know any residents who rent out the rooms to the tourists. His name was Josh, and he was very helpful. Josh called Moshe, Moshe called Simon, Simon called Zabu and 10 minutes later we were sitting in Zabu’s golf cart as he was driving us to his home!
Zabu is 94 years old, and he is one of the people who built the Ein Gedi kibbutz in the 1950’s. Every person there knows him. He still works every day as a carpenter. His energy and spirit are incredible. Not only he gave us a great room with a view of the Dead Sea and refused to take any money, he told us all kind of stories about his travels around the world, the history of his land and even about his carpentry. He offered us the fruits from his garden and showed us the breathtaking viewpoint from we watched the sunrise the next morning. It was one of the nights I will tell my kids about one day.
I believe that everything happens for a reason and sometimes tricky circumstances lead to meeting an exceptional person.