At the close of 2016, two sets of photos surfaced that have compelled us to pause and reflect on our progress.
Consider these two photos, both from 2008, almost nine years ago:
One is an aerial photograph of the barren landscape that was soon to become the Project Wadi Attir site, and the other a picture of Dr. Michael Ben-Eli, Founder of The Sustainability Laboratory, which launched the project, getting acquainted with children in the Bedouin community on one of his early visits to the region. Keep an eye on the boy in the red shirt…
Now, here are two pictures from 2016:
That is, in fact, the same patch of land, now ordered and alive, and laced with deep green you can see from the air. And do you recognize the man on the left, presenting the project at a conference for science teachers in the Negev? Yes! He is the boy in the red shirt, Belal Alatrash, now 19 years old, and employed as a guide at Project Wadi Attir!
Again, here’s Belal in 2008:
And here he is today, hosting groups from all over the world on the project site:
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. For us, these two sets of pictures speak to the enormous growth and potential of our project, which, in the beginning, many thought impossible. We already see the ways in which local youngsters are taking advantage of all that our site has to offer, and we can anticipate a time when children of the community can say that they have indeed grown up at Project Wadi Attir. To us, Belal’s story represents that promise and potential.