A half moon hovered shyly over the low hills. The air was dry and warm, and once the diesel fumes dissipated, a mild aroma of sage could be detected. A hundred meters past where the bus had stopped was the start of another road, a junction. I walked toward the intersection, stashed my bags inside a bus shelter and strategically positioned myself under the glow of a streetlamp. Then I made the phone call.
The line rang and rang. Finally, at the tenth ring, I heard someone pick up and the faint sound of breathing. Since nobody spoke, I initiated the conversation.
“Uhhh . . . hello? Hello, is Yacob there?”
“Sorry?” responded the distant voice of an older woman.
“My name is Daniel. I’m the Canadian volunteer. Is Yacob there?”
“Yacob!” I over-enunciated loudly. “I’m standing on the side of a highway. There is a man who is supposed to pick me up.”
“I’M TRYING TO GET TO THE GOAT FARM!”
“I don’t know anything about goats!” said the very confused woman, her thick Israeli accent reminding me that I was in a truly foreign place.
“There is no Yacob there?”
My heart raced. I had assumed that the logistics of getting to the goat farm would be simple: get on bus, hop off bus, greet whoever was eagerly awaiting my arrival, drive to the farm, be welcomed by a sea of affectionate goats. But clearly my optimism was laced with a heavy dose of naivety. I didn’t know what to do next. What is the standard protocol when stranded on an Israeli highway, trying to find a goat farmer named Yacob?