Happy WORLD WATER DAY!
The 2018 theme is Nature for Water and the idea is to raise awareness about nature-related solutions to the water crisis.
Over the last few years Israel has gotten itself out of our water shortage; now we re-use a whopping 86% of our water.
So I'm going to blog today instead about a more exciting topic--SPARKLING WATER!
On a blustery January day our group's bus pulled up to the gate for a factory tour.
The sign says Welcome to the SodaStream family.
The plant is huge, spread out in many buildings, in the brand-new Idan HaNegev industrial park.
SodaStream moved here and closed its much smaller factory in the West Bank less than four years ago.
Our tour started with a little lecture in the Visitor Center where all the varieties of soda makers are on display.
Here is how to make flavored soda water at home: https://www.sodastreamusa.com/how-it-works.aspx
We also got to see the funny video with Mayim Bialik and Hodor about the Lost Tribe of the Homoshlepians, the primitive people who used to schlepp water around in plastic bottles. :)
Watch it here!
Then our guide took us into the factory!
You don't see many workers because so much of the production is automated.
But if something is a bit off, you do need a person to get right in there and fix it!
Our SodaStream guide needed amplification to make her voice heard over the machine noise.
Watching the robots is a bit mesmerizing, even in my little videos!
This man is from Peru!
SodaStream prides itself on fostering a happy work atmosphere filled with mutual respect and equality among its 1,700 employees.
Jews and Arabs, new immigrants and native-born Sabras, all ages, all work together in peace.
Every day a bus from Jerusalem brings 80 of the Palestinians who worked in the previous factory in Mishor Adumim. (And travel time is paid.)
And 40% of the workforce are Bedouin--Israeli citizens from the close-by Bedouin city of Rahat or from the Negev's many unrecognized villages.
And half of those Bedouin are women!
Just outside SodaStream's gate you can see Rahat (well, you might have to click a few times on the photo to see the houses).
It was early afternoon Friday when our bus left in order to be back home in Meitar before Shabbat.
What warmed my heart that cold day was this picture of two smiling young men bringing platters of food or goodies as a nice little Sabbath Eve extra for the "SodaStream family" that stayed on to work, 24/7.
At the official website you can click on your country for local information about SodaStream.
SodaStream came to Israel in the 1970s, and today its headquarters are here and the products are exported to 47 countries. Soon China will join that list too!
Learn all about SodaStream over at Wikipedia and check out the links at the end too.
And happy World Water Day!