A day with Zain al Shabab

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Welcome to Peace Wadi, where we hosted Zain al Shabab for a day of volunteering on the farm. We were really excited about this event because it meant the local youths from Amman could help us plant our planned Moringa tree field. This tree is well known for its nutritious and almost miraculous features, where all parts of the tree (bark, seeds, fruit, and leaves) have applications.

 

After feeding the cats, we started preparing homemade date molasses for our guests. As always, under the supervision of Mohammad.

With the trees already delivered and the molasses cooking, we were ready to welcome Zain youth.

After the Zain al Shabab members introduced themselves, Mohammad explained the concept of the farm and talked about the activities he had planned for the day. “Why plant Moringa trees?,” you might ask. This work has an educational goal as the farm should work towards sustainable and highly nutritive plant growing. And that is what our Peace Wadi wants to promote.

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The nutritional goal was explained by Abou Youssef, the local greenhouse operator who delivered our Moringa trees. He explained to us that the tiny leaves of Moringa could save millions of lives.  The small, rounded leaves are packed with an incredible amount of nutrition–protein, calcium, beta carotene, vitamin C, potassium– and have been used as part of traditional medicine for centuries.

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We were then ready to start planting the trees all afternoon. Thanks to their motivation and team spirit, we managed to finish the work quickly. We also set up the irrigation system and made sure the trees were being watered in their new homes.

Everyone was satisfied and proud, and after the work was complete we went on a tour of the date farm. While Mohammad explained how to cultivate dates, the whole group were focus… well maybe not everyone.

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We ended this beautiful day by sharing a meal all together, prepared by our farmer, Abou Baker.

We are all very grateful to Zain al Shabab for their energy and their help. We hope to see them soon and look forward to welcoming them and other local volunteers back to the farm.

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Meeting at Princess Basma Community Development Center

Yesterday was a busy day for me and Abu Farez! We visited the Princess Basma Community Development Center (CDC) in South Shuneh, located a few kilometers from Peace Wadi. There are many projects involving locals, and we saw people from all ages there!

One of the projects is called Makani: refugee children attend different classes. They are aged from 5 to 14 years old and normally don’t go to regular schools because they lack Jordanian ID. There are two rooms where they have English, Arabic, Maths and life skills lessons. I was guided by Ai’sha in the CDC, and as she was showing me the empty and colorful rooms, I could imagine the sound of children in my mind. Ai’sha told me there are 10 disabled children in the region, and they go to the center occasionally as well.

As small kitchen is the place where two women cook some Jordanian snacks and specialties, and sell them for the community.

I saw some young teenagers going out of the CDC with cleaning material, and Ai’sha explained me they participate on a program called Mubadera. The boys volunteer to clean the neighborhood of CDC.

The UNHCRH is also implicated in the CDC, funding the meals of some children.

Another project is a private primary school for kids from 4 to 5 years old. The families pay a symbolic amount of 25JD a month, and the children get a better education than in governmental schools, says Mohammad Omar Almuaimi, the new coordinator of the CDC. These kids are Jordanian and Syrian, and they come from families that normally can afford the monthly fee. But Mr. Omar says he wants to attract more children in the future, including from refugee families that live nearby.

Upstairs, there is the Innovation Lab, where Ai’sha actually works. They have three well-equipped rooms. The first one is a programming learning room, where the youth get some introduction to programming. Ouch! Sounds very hard, and the decoration of the room is composed by lovely robots on the walls. The second room has several uses: it’s a robotics lab, but also there are many books, tables, toys and everything the youth needs.

The last room has a guitar and a piano, and children can learn how to play the instruments. Also, they have good recording material. Ai’sha explained that actually they have even elderly coming to the center to learn, and afterwards they participate as instructors for the young ones.

A project with the USAid is providing some English classes to locals as well.

I offered myself to volunteer there some days a week, inshallah very soon I can also teach some photography to youth and give them a hand with social media!

The funniest part was discovering some mutual background between me and Omar (I’m friends with his cousin, back in Bethlehem/Palestine!) and also between Abu Farez and Omar. They have worked together for an animation competition in 2007, producing a short movie for water usage.

It seems like the rain has brought some good luck for us!

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Abu Farez and our horse men! Soon you will see some horses runing aroud here!

Wadi Peace Gathering/Paint for Peace

On March 21st, we would like to welcome you all from near and far to enjoy a night filled with a variety of middle eastern cuisine and the sharing of knowledge. Come stay with us!

Also, in addition to our Wadi Peace gathering we would like to start the day a little earlier to announce the launch of an ongoing project, Paint for Peace.
With an aim to spread light and color over a very important location, we are seeking not only artists with a passion or interest in graffiti but also families, individuals and all that can contribute to making the day joyful and successful.
As it stands, we have a wall approximately 200 meters long that has been separated into sections. Being moments away from the King Hussein’s bridge crossing means it will be one of the first things you see entering Jordan giving the artists a perfect opportunity to share their work to the many people who use the crossing.
If you want to help, but don’t paint, we are also looking for sponsors to help pay for supplies.

 

 

To reach the farm from Amman, you can catch a bus to Shuneh from Markaz al muhajireen. Get off at the last stop then get a taxi to the farm. It is on the left about 400m before the Allenby Bridge border crossing. There are lots of taxis parked out front and a courtyard with a cafe.

If you have any concerns about getting to the farm feel free to contact Mohammed at 0795527397.

Also check out our Facebook page at Valley of Peace وادي السلام‎ .