Scholar finds Israel field work enriching
Going from the comparative serenity of an Otago varsity campus to practising air raid drills in a Tel Aviv apartment complex has not fazed 23-year-old Robbie Francis.
The Rotary ambassadorial scholar - who has been studying at the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Otago for three years - spoke at the annual Rotary conference in Invercargill yesterday about why she chose to go to Israel after being awarded a Rotary scholarship to do field work overseas.
Born with a rare bone condition, phocomelia, which stopped bone growth in the lower half of her body, she learnt to walk on an artificial leg she dubbed Lucy ("As in ‘Leftie Lucy' - because what kid can say ‘prothesis'?").
Although she described Israel as incredibly different to what is portrayed in the media, she said it was chilling to have the bus stop that she used twice a week blown apart by a bomb that was left in a bag at the shelter.
The explosion killed an English expat who was living in Tel Aviv.
"It is easy to see what is just on a television screen - everything we hear is negative. But it was actually a very positive, enriching experience for me. The people there do want peace."
Although her family were nervous about her living and working in areas of conflict, they did not stand in her way. "They're pretty supportive. They've always known I don't settle for anything less than my potential."
Miss Francis planned to return to Israel to do field work.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Your club information portal, post or view your sports fixtures, results and general information.
Check out what's on in your community or post an upcoming event.
Subscribe to a digital replica of The Southland Times.
Southland Times subscriber news and information.
Click here for information about advertising with The Southland Times.
Buy copies of photos featured in The Southland Times.