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Visit Peace Wadi in the Urdannah Jannah Programme!

As a response to the COVID-19 crisis, the Jordanian government launched a programme to show how beautiful this country is. The environment of Peace Wadi is perfect to enjoy a rural escape from the city and enjoy the Jordan Valley.

Faris Atiyeh, second generation founder of the Peace Wadi

We are happy to host for the programme and are excited to stimulate national and international tourism to the Jordan Valley!

Programme:

  • Introduction to the NGO project Peace Wadi, promoting peace and sustainable growth for society in the region for more than 20 years now
  • Peace Wadi is connected to many social initiatives in Jordan, like reduction of waste and promoting the importance of nature in our country
  • Tour around the date farm, bee hives, pidgin tower, explaining about the specialties of the salty water in the Jordan valley and how Peace Wadi adapts agriculture to nature around her
  • Tasting of home grown dates, moringa tea and to enjoy the lunch on the farm made from local produce
  • Bring your young volunteers to help water the plants for us and let your kids discover the joy of rural life. Our next generation will understand better about the importance of nature, peace and sharing

Come and enjoy the farm atmosphere, discover the peace of Jordan Valley, and take a swim in our fully organic pool. There are beach showers and changing rooms available on the property.

Contact us for any questions. We are looking forward to receive you on the farm!
Phone: 079 733 8899

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Moringa tree seed harvest

Moringa is helping to prevent and cure diseases the benefits include to reduce symptoms of stomach pain, headache, heardproblems like high bloodpressure and can relief menstrual cramps.

Moringa can be prepared as a vegetable or included in soups, but mostly the leaves and fruits are used, especially for preparing tea.

After drying the tea leaves until they are crisp, they should be grinded and stored in a dry container. To prepare the tea just add hot water, lemon or sugar. Enjoy!

We harvested the seedbags of the tree and put them in the sun to dry.

They can be eaten like peas or rosted like nuts and contain a high amount of vitamin C, B vitamins and dietary minerals. Oil can also be made from them. It has no smell and resists rancidity.

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Our Farm

Welcome to Peace Wadi!

In the beautiful Valley of Jordan, our farm is a space of warmth, community, and sharing and we welcome you with open arms.

The Project

At the centre of all activity on the farm is the Project. Here we gather with friends and family, cook together, laugh over bonfires and barbecues, and sit out in the evenings. The wind blows through the arches cooling the shaded interior and, even on the hottest of summer days, the underground sitting room provides a light and peaceful place to rest.

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A working day in the summer heat of Peace Wadi

5:00 am: Our alarm goes off. Half asleep we brush our teeth and put on our working clothes. First off, we start with weeding the fields. The torn-out weeds will be used as fertilizer aligning with the principles of permaculture, an organic and self-sustaining way of designing farm lands without the usage of chemicals resembling natural ecosystems. Our work is a race against the clock as the sun is rising and the burning heat is creeping upon us. Summertime in the Jordan Valley easily means temperatures above 45 degrees Celsius. After all our muscle strength is strained, we go to the animal housing, while our dripping sweat marks the way we’re taking. Trailing behind us following the trail we’re leaving is the farm dog – sometimes accompanied by her puppies. Our sweet friends, the chicken and pigeons, are awaiting us to feed them and renew their water. 

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The farm dog and one of her puppies

After that is done, we take a short nap and later wake up to the sweet smell of Turkish coffee, that has been kindly prepared by ‘amu Mohammed, the founder and owner of Peace Wadi. For breakfast we enjoy a variety of local foods, such as dibbs and tahini, falafel, hummus, zait and zaatar, fruits and vegetables.

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Breakfast

Afterwards we take care of the social media pages and brainstorm for new projects. During the hottest hours of the day, we take a break to read, enjoy the fan, and appreciate the peace and idyll of this place. Often, we can be found under the sharing tree laughing and drinking Moringa tea (which can be found on this farm) to stay hydrated.

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The sharing tree

Frequently, there are also guest or visitors, that used to volunteer here, which we enjoy getting to know. The atmosphere here is welcoming and open with a friendly vibe, which fits right in which the mystical spirit of the Valley. The Valley has sacred meaning as the people that are described in the Bible and the Torah, as well as the prophet Mohammad (pbuh) have lived and acted here. The farm has an excellent view on أريحا (engl. Ariha or Jericho) and القدس (engl. Al-Quds or Jerusalem). Wanderers, that have crossed the only 300m faraway King Hussein Bridge, often come here to get some rest and drink a cup of tea before continuing their journey. 

In the late afternoon we prepare dinner for us and whoever wants to join us that day. Dinner regularly exists out of vegan food as we often have vegan people here and it’s better for the environment and safer to make in this heat, as it rarely goes bad. We close the evening by enjoying the fresh air outside while being mesmerized by the stars and the stunning view on Palestine.

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The sun setting on the Palestinian side of the close border

Occasionally we also join Mohammad watching the Jordanian Netflix series جن (engl. Jinn) and discussing the controversial topics that the series deals with.

Not too late we fall asleep accompanied by the sounds of the birds and the mosquitoes.

 

 

Amber and Marieke (Dutch volunteers that have come to the farm through a project of the global student organization AIESEC)

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Khobaizeh – It’s What’s for Dinner

Khobaizeh is a delicious and well-known vegetable, and this tasty plant grows in abundance here in the Jordan Valley. Nearly everywhere you look on the Peace Wadi farm, you will see khobaizeh sprouting up, notable by its signature velvety leaves and shape.  Spring is the peak season for this crop, and it is so abundant that the past four years Peace Wadi has hosted a khobaizeh festival – a five-week fete to celebrate spring, community, and of course plenty of delicious khobaizeh-based foods.

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A patch of khobaizeh growing on the farm.  Note the distinct clover shape of the leaves.

Khobaizeh can be prepared in a variety of ways on its own, or added to other vegetarian dishes to compliment the flavors of other leafy greens.  Today we’ll be sharing our favorite simple recipe to prepare this tasty plant, and in just a few steps you too can whip up a vegetarian khobaizeh dish the whole family will enjoy!

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Sauteed Khobaizeh (Serves 10 as a side dish)

Prep time: 45 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

-7 white onions

-1 head of garlic

-2 chili peppers (add or subtract for your own preference.  Two gives a mild amount of spice)

-8 tomatoes

-5 large bunches of khobaizeh (enough to fill a large colander when chopped)

-½ lemon

-Salt & pepper to taste

-Oil

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For size reference, this is what we consider one large bunch of khobeizah

Supplies:

Large saucepan

Wooden spoon

Knife

Cutting board

Colander

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Instructions:

  1. Begin by dicing the onions, mincing the garlic, and slicing the chili peppers into small pieces.  Dice the tomatoes as well and set aside for now. Coat the bottom of your saucepan in oil and add the chopped onions, garlic, & peppers, cooking on medium-high until onions are fragrant and translucent.

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    Our pepper-garlic-onion party
  2. While those are cooking down, wash your khobaizeh and chop the bottom inch off of the stems.  Roughly chop the khobaizeh into half-inch pieces, making sure to cut the larger leaves down to smaller size as you go.

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    5 bunches of khobaizeh, chopped and ready!
  3. Once the onions, garlic, & pepper are finished cooking, add the khobaizeh and tomatoes to the saucepan and mix thoroughly. If the khobaizeh seems dry, feel free to add a small amount of water here to help with the cooking.  
  4. Cover with a lid and allow to cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  As the khobaizeh cooks down the leaves will begin to wilt, yet there should still be a bit of “snap” when you taste it.  Add salt & pepper to taste, and you’re ready to serve! Feel free to add a bit of lemon juice over the top of the dish for an extra kick.  It’s so tasty, we promise you won’t wind up with leftovers, but if you manage to still have some extra khobaizeh we recommend adding it to eggs for a delicious vegetable omelette!

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Khobaizeh is an abundant and nutritious vegetable option.  It can be substituted for spinach in a variety of dishes, and the possibilities are endless when it comes to this tasty and resilient plant.  Have a favorite khobaizeh dish? Let us know in the comments below!

 

Happy cooking!

 

Megan & Kitkat

 

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From Tree to Jar — The Date Molasses Journey

Date cultivation is one of Peace Wadi’s ongoing projects. Volunteers have the opportunity to help tend to the many trees, which require constant loving supervision. In the arid Jordan Valley, water is a precious resource; consequently, regularly mending irrigation canals along the roots of the date trees is of the utmost importance. Pollination, which is done by hand, is another vital step in producing the sweet dates.

This aromatic date fruit can be enjoyed in many ways, one of which is date molasses. Date molasses has a dark amber color and a richly sweet flavor. It can be eaten with yogurt, mixed with tahini and served with naan bread, or simply by the spoonful.

Peace Wadi volunteers also have the opportunity to help create this sweet treat!  Want to make some at home?  All you need is dates, water, and a little bit of spare time to create this sticky sweet dessert all by yourself!

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One of our favorite uses for date molasses – mixed with tahini to create a sweet dip for apples!

Date Molasses Recipe:

Prep time: 30 minutes – 1 hour

Cook time: 3 hours

Ingredients:

-Dates

-Water

Materials:

-Two large pots

-Empty and clean flour bag with holes

-Large spoons

-Large shallow pan

-Potato masher or similar tool to mash dates

-Sanitized* glass jars and lids for storage

Instructions:

    1. Begin by collecting an ample amount of dates. One large stove pot filled halfway with pitted dates (about 5 lbs or 2.2 kg) will cook down to one large jar.
    2. Wash your dates and (optional step) remove the pits. Ensure all dates are free from little critters. Place all dates in a large pot.

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      Removing the pits from our dates
    3. Fill up the pot with water. All the dates should be fully covered in the water with at least an inch above the top of the dates– more water is better at this stage so you can really cook the dates and extract as much juice as possible. 
    4. Bring the water to a boil and cook for a minimum of 30 minutes but if you want to get the best molasses, cook for an hour or more. While you are waiting, you can enjoy some more dates as a snack!

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      Our date-water mixture cooking down
    5. After you have cooked your dates to the desired consistency, allow the pot to cool down a bit. Pour the mixture into a shallow pan and mash the dates to help them release their juice.  When the mixture is cool enough to handle (but not cold), you are ready to begin the straining process.

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      Our mashed date mixture just before beginning to strain
    6. Place the flour bag in a clean pot. Scoop some of the date mixture into the flour bag.img_2060.jpg
    7. Close the bag. Twist and strain the mixture, allowing the juices to run into the clean pot.  This job is easier if you have two people twisting opposite ends of the bag!  If you have a large amount of dates it may be easier to do this in two shifts, removing the dry date pulp and setting it aside.
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    8. Repeat the straining process until you have strained all the mixture. Your pot should be filled roughly ⅓ of the way with this new date juice.  You can either discard the dry date pulp or eat it (we suggest mixing it with granola or yogurt for a tasty snack!)
    9. Place the strained date juice back on the stove. Boil the juice, then simmer until the mixture thickens, about 40 minutes or more. Be sure to stir the mixture every 10 minutes to prevent sticking/burning. When the juice is almost done it will begin to bubble quite a lot and become increasingly sticky– you will need to stir it more at this stage to prevent burning at the bottom of the pan. After most of the water has cooked down, you can cook it down to a thicker molasses or leave it more liquid at this stage.
    10. Wait for the molasses to cool. Pour into a jar if desired.  Eat and enjoy!

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      Our beautiful finished molasses!

*To sanitize the glass jars and lids, simply soak and rinse them in hot soapy water, then boil in clean water for 10 minutes to ensure you store your molasses safely.

Date molasses can be stored at room temperature for up to a year or longer.  Do you have a favorite use for your date molasses?  Let us know in the comments below!  Happy cooking!

 

 

-The Date Molasses Trio (Rae, Kat, & Megan)

 

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To Jerash and back

Jordan offers a variety of places that are worth a visit. The location of the ‘Peace Wadi’ farm enables volunteers who are working at the farm to explore the surroundings in their free time. We took this opportunity, did a little research and decided to go on a daytrip to the ruined city of Jerash.

It must be stated that Jordan is a country full of hospitable people and that is what makes hitchhiking a good option. So we decided to hitchhike to Jerash. It is 70-80 km to Jerash from the farm, depending on which route you choose. And so we embarked on our ‘journey’. We took 2 hours and 5 cars to get to Jerash from the farm. On our way to Jerash and removing from one car to another we were lucky enough to interact with locals as well. This interaction with ‘new’ cultures is what we find so alluring about hitchhiking. On the way to Jerash we were invited for a coffee with the most stunning view over one of the towns we passed through. We were also invited to a bakery to witness the process of bread baking. We tasted some of the freshly baked bread straight out of the wooden oven. After filling our stomachs with bread and coffee we were able to continue in the direction of Jerash.

thumbnail_IMG_20190315_140708_458.jpg‘Kidnapped’ by the locals to drink an arabic coffee with a view over the valley.

Once we arrived in Jerash we were immediately captivated by a stunning scenery over the town and particularly over all the Roman ruins that can be found on the archeological site in Jerash. Jerash is considered one of the best preserved Roman towns in the world. There are several theatres, temples, plazas and baths that can be visited on the site. We even witnessed some horse racing in one part of this ruined city.

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thumbnail_IMG_20190312_120254.jpgTemple of Artemis, South theatre, Oval plaza and some horse racing in the ruined city of Jerash.

Tourists coming to Jerash mostly do so with the purpose of visiting the archeological site. However, we decided to see the ‘authentic’ town as well. We walked through some streets while observing a simple daily life. We didn’t meet any other tourists while browsing the streets and the locals seemed to be very interested in our presence there. We were greeted by most of the vendors and were offered to taste some goodies such as freshly roasted nuts, some fruits and some sweets.

IMG_20190312_133223.jpgVegetable stalls placed on one of the streets we passed through.

In our experience time flies very fast in Jordan and so we tried not to stick around too long in Jerash. In the afternoon we started hitchhiking again. This time we tried to look for someone who would be willing to take us to Salt. Salt is a town that lies between the farm and Jerash and so it seemed very appropriate for us to stop by on our way back to the farm and have a quick look at it. Even though hitchhiking in Jordan is quite easy, there still is a tiny problem one can come across and it has to do with the language barrier. Locals mostly speak very limited English and since we speak very limited Arabic this causes some challenges that need to be overcome. But in the end a car with a man driving to Amman stopped and offered us a ride. What is amazing about Jordanians is that they truly want you to feel welcome and for this reason they go out of their way to help you as much as they can which in this case ended up with the man driving us directly to Salt. Such experiences make our hitchhiking adventures even more pleasant and memorable.

IMG-20190312-WA0014.jpgChilling and sipping some chai in Salt.

We enjoyed our walk in Salt – city of fog – tasted some more freshly baked bread, browsed the vegetable market, bought some tasty nuts and enjoyed some chai at the end. Once we felt satisfied with all the experiences we had made that day we headed to the traffic lights and started approaching cars driving in the direction of the farm, or rather to Shuna. After a couple of minutes we stopped a car with two guys who offered us a lift. We had a nice conversation with them and in the end they also went out of their way and brought us directly to the farm. We even got some flowers from them as a gift. How kind of them! As already mentioned, locals can be very hospitable and welcoming and that is what makes Jordan a special place to be.

thumbnail_IMG-20190317-WA0018.jpgSelfie taken on the rooftop of the ‘Peace Wadi’ farm – facing Jericho and Jerusalem – with Mohammad, owner of the farm.

 

 

 

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Experiment by yourself

You are probably looking for freedom : your freedom, the freedom of the people around you or the  ecosystems freedom. What would happen if you were completely free ? The volunteers of Peace wadi are experimenting with a way of working without any obligations or rules . We didn’t learn that at school and it’s a challenge.

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Travelling by bike around the world I am looking for freedom. My wheels brought me a few hundreds meters from the borders with Palestine. Here I am not the only person who is looking for freedom. Mohammad, who founded this project sais that we are all the children of the valley. Very quickly you will understand that there are no obligations or defined structure. This sounds pretty cool and you’ll have a great feeling of liberty. It’s beautiful on paper but concretly is it that easy ?

There is a link between all the volunteer stories about this place. The challenge of being free. Being brought up in schools, as children we always have to do what the teacher asked us to do. After school it’s often the same with your boss when you get a job. How can we find our purpose in an open space full of possibilities ? This is challenging. Most of us needed few days to adapt themselves and to find the motivation. Peace wadi is quite a big place and the possibilities are endless. You can plant, you can make a movie, you can help the farm workers, you can write a blog post . You can do whatever you want because you will do it well with your heart. And It will be beneficial to the farm. This is the philosophy.

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When the evening comes Mohammad often sits down on the balcony and looks at the valley around us. It’s the Palestinian city of Jericho where he comes from. We never talked about that but you’ll see on the walls of the house a post card where it’s written ‘make hummus not walls’. Following my experience this summarizes the wish of this project and the people around it very well. This farm is a pretext to bring people together. It’s a very beautiful pretext because we cultivate food respecting the ecosystems. But at the end we mostly share , we learn from each other, we meet each other. This only can help us to be free together. Freedom is like everything we want to achieve : we need to practice it ! When you start your day no one will say to you : ‘go there and do that’ . You’ll have the freedom to choose. And this is a great opportunity to learn how to motivate yourself and how to trust yourself . Values that probably most of us want to spread in our society.

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Peace wadi is an open air laboratory. You’ll face a way of working that’s not common in our society.It can desorientate you in the begining but you will adapt yourself. Big ambitions are behind little works in a garden.

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A day in the life of Peace Wadi

We traveled from Brighton, England, to Jordan to help deliver a project with the International Table Tennis Federation and the UNHCR at the Za’atari refugee camp in northern Jordan.
Akram, a friend back home, suggested we stay at Peace Wadi after the project at the camp had finished. Akram is the nephew of Mohammed at the Children of the Valley.
Mohammed came to Amman and collected myself, my wife and our 3 month old daughter and drove us to Peace Wadi, dropping from 1500m above sea level to 400m below. It was a beautiful journey.
We are breakfast over looking Jericho and Jerusalem from the balcony of the house on the farm. Three different types of delicious bread, houmous, eggs, tomatoes and cucumbers. Washed down with Moringa tea.
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Just 5km from Peace Wadi, is the Baptism site of Jesus. Mohammed explained on the way there that for hundreds and hundreds of years Muslims and Christians had lived side by side and in peaceful co-existence. During Ramadan some Christians would fast in solidarity with their Muslim brothers and sisters. At Christmas both Christians and Muslims would celebrate the birth of Jesus. Inter-faith marriage was a good measure of the depth of community integration. Each context was individual and people made their own situations work for them. We are told by people with agendas in the West that there exists a clash of civilisations and that cultures are incompatible. There is a long and rich history here that disproves this theory. We are all brothers and sisters.
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At the baptism site there were visitors from countries including Indonesia, Spain, the Philipenes, Australia, France, Brazil & India. At the banks of the Jordan river we could see 5 metres in front of us people being baptised and blessed on the Palestinian side of the border. We were so near yet so far from the other side.
Next we met up with with Ibrahim, a local farm owner that grows bananas, and we drove with him and Mohammed just twenty minutes to a museum and for lunch at the Dead Sea Panorama. The views and food were breath taking. A very informative museum about the geology and history of the Dead Sea, the tectonic plates and movements of Jordan in relation to Africa and the surrounding countries.
From here we drove another 10 minutes to Mount Nebo, where Moses had climbed to the top of to see the promised land. The historic mosaics dating back to the 5th century have been incredibly well preserved. This is an area of incredible historical and religious significance. Moses, Jesus & Mohammed all walked these paths during their life times and whatever your religious, or non-religious beliefs, this is an important and historical land.
The dates grown at Peace Wadi are the sweetest and most delicious I have ever tasted. You can taste the heat and the sun that they have soaked up growing in the unique eco system that is the below sea-level, greenhouse of the Jordan Valley.

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In the evening we had been invited to a meal at Abu Ahad’s house, the local Deputy-Mayor. The warm hospitality and insight into a culture through being invited into someone’s home is not something you can find in  a guide book. We shared an enormous maklube, a local speciality that means “upside-down” rice, chicken, lamb, beef and vegtables cooked for hours and then flipped at the end before serving.
Time spent in Peace Wadi has made me think of the late Jo Cox, MP, killed by a far-right extremist in her Yorkshire constituency. Her legacy is that we as humans have More in Common. There is far, far more that unites us than divides us.

 

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Tennis Table with Tim Holtam at Peace Wadi

Tim Holtam from Brighton Tennis Club (England) was visiting Peace Wadi after 4 days at the Za’atani Refugee Camp. Here, he had been working with UNHCR and the ITTF (International Table Tennis Federation) on the ITTF Deam Buiing for Refugee Program.

At Peace Wadi Mohammad arranged for a group of 20 Jordanian Gypsy and Traveller children to come along for a table tennis session.

The players were part of the UNICEF program called MAKANI or “My space” in Arabic. Tim said: “back at the Brighton Tennis Table Club we work there with many refugee players and also the Gypsy and Traveller community. It was a privilege to run a session at Peace Wadi for these children.”