This year the first group of students from Zambia arrived in Israel to participate in the Agrostudies internship. While beginning their practical internship at Mehadrin farms, they were later transferred to the Rehovot Institute of Agriculture, where they are closely monitored by lecturers from the Hebrew University alongside their Israeli colleagues.
They specialize in breeding different strands of tomatoes including cherry tomatoes, beef tomatoes and cluster tomatoes.
Harad Lungu, a Zambian student currently undergoing the internship described some of what they learned these past months:
“After growing the tomatoes, we take them to the lab at the center where we cut them and extract the seeds, then we dry them, pack them and export them to different markets. This type of information is really crucial for us in Zambia, where every meal includes tomatoes“.
The information does in fact exist in theory in Zambia, where it is learned at Universities. However, they lacked the practical aspects, which were richly supplemented during their time in Israel. “The practical aspects here have been very intense and we now feel ‘fully baked’“.
A small Zambian community resides in Haifa and when they learned of the students’ presence here in Israel they were invited by Mr. Chuungu Malitonga, a member of the international governing council of the Bahá’í Faith (Universal House of Justice), for a visit and a tour of the Bahai gardens, a prominent religion in Zambia.
Their tour also included traditional Zambian food which they had already begun to miss and a meeting with Dr. Joyce Miti, a Zambian national, and an official of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, based in Acra, Ghana, who happened to be on a private visit to Israel at the time of the students’ visit.
In summary, I asked Harad how he feels about his experiences in Israel, now that the final days of the internship are approaching, and as the first emissaries from his country, and he summed it up, saying:
“It was a good experience. Ups and downs here and there, but we are near the end and I really hope that it will be beneficial back home (the graduation certificate). We don’t know what’s in store for us since we are the first, and we look forward to seeing what happens.”