On a sloping green hill tucked between small farmsteads, the mottled graves of Jews buried here since the 1600s rise up like a forgotten forest.
The city of Ariel is home to 19,000 Israelis, a university center of 12,000 students and a growing industrial park with 27 factories employing thousands of workers. The city’s backers describe Ariel as beautiful, diverse, peaceful. One repeat American visitor said, “It’s like driving into some San Diego suburb.”
We volunteered with the American Jewish World Service (AJWS), a nonprofit organization devoted to ending poverty by furthering sustainable development and promoting international human rights.
Draped in a deep, earthen-red shukah, adorned with circles of brightly beaded necklaces and head-to-toe with body paint made from ochre and sheep fat, the Masai warrior keeps a silent vigil in the midst of the relentless equatorial heat of East Africa. His life is a mission from his god, Ngai, to protect and care for his herd of cattle and the earth itself.