Oasis at the edge of the Sahara
Hello dear people!
My name is Said. I come from a big family that is descended from the Tuareg-Imazighen. For many years, we lived a nomadic life moving from place to place in the Sahara desert. After the drought hit the area so strong, we decided to stop at the edge of the desert, in the Daraa Valley. While my parents now live in Tagounite, I decided to move to the small village Bani Hayoune, 7,5 kilometers further away, to live and work in a 200-year old old mud house.
My wish is to rebuild, recover and expand this house by natural materials. The place carries many memories and the history of our ancestors. As a child, me and my family still moved around as nomads, but we would sometimes visit my grandparents in this house, who already stopped at this place to start building their house.
After being able to rebuild the house, it is my dream to create here a guesthouse for travelers, a small school for children and a meeting & sharing space for the women in this area.
The village Bani Hayoune is one of the oldest jewish villages in Daraa Valley, and it was discovered by Ishak Aquim, around 2500 b.C. This place was used a lot by the people who lived here, for making a lot of traditional hand works and for trading.
My father Mohamed comes to the house every day with his donkey, to work in the gardens and to help with the work that is needed for the house, and sometimes my brother comes to help. We will do different work: rebuilding the mud house, fixing walls, working on the electricity that needs to be installed, taking care of the donkey, picking the dates of the palm trees, cooking, making bricks and digging a hole for the water reserve. We also need help in social media and marketing.
You can choose the work what you would like to do, and everyone does what he can or wishes to do. Please don't worry about the need of any special skills. We will be happy to show you what to do and we will be thankful for any help you can do.
We will have meals three times a day, cooked by ourselves and everyone will get a chance to learn how to prepare the real Moroccan dish. In winter, sometimes we make a fire for cooking or we play music and sit around the fire to warm our selves.
In our gardens we grow wheat and grass at this moment. Our wish is to grow all kinds of organic vegetables and fruits in the gardens that belong to our piece of land. With the drought here in the south, water is a big difficulty, but we are trying our best to find solutions and all your ideas about growing ecological food are of course very welcome :-)
The house is based in a calm area, and you will find yourself in a green oasis consisting of date palm trees and the gardens.
We have two shared rooms where people will sleep. One big, long room and a smaller room next to it. The rooms are inside the house which we will be working on, and the whole house is made of mud (mud bricks). We have mattresses, sheets, blankets and pillows for everyone who will stay here. At this moment we still have no doors in the rooms, but we close the rooms with carpets. The whole building has an entrance of two big doors.
We also have a Moroccan toilet and shower.
The place where we are settled can give you a good experience to get many ideas about the basic way of a nomadic life. For a moment you can discover and understand how technology can change your life and at the same time it is a good opportunity to enjoy some quietness and escape from the rush of modern life for a period. The weather here is sunny every day, you will enjoy beautiful sunsets every evening and at night you will see the millions of stars in the sky.
We would love to meet people from different backgrounds and all kinds of cultures. By this way, we hope to exchange the cultures and different knowledges and ideas from all over the world. Since we have learned a lot from our parents and grandparents, it will be our pleasure to share with you in return this knowledge of our basic Bedouin life and to show you the Sahara desert. We will be very happy to host you here!
ABOUT THE WORK:
The tasks could be all kinds of different tasks, varying day by day or week by week, like:
- Building different traditional rooms in the house. We want to build some new sleeping rooms and a big living room. For the building we will use mud bricks made of sand, hay and water
- Mixing mud and making mud bricks
- Cooking. We are happy to teach you how to make traditional Moroccan meals & tea, and happy to learn new recipes
- Cleaning the house & dishes etc.
- Building a sink and several other parts for the house
- Creating covers for the water reserves
- In some periods we need help with collecting water
- Digging canals for water
- Fixing and cleaning the old rooms and walls (made with mud)
- Make new door entrances in the rooms
- Building more benches
- Building a bridge
- Gardening. We need to plant new trees and we want to grow organic vegetables and fruits in the near future
- We are always happy with help of taking care of our animals; our dog Sou Sen, cats, rabbits, turtles and the donkey Khanaffi. The plan is to have some other different animals in the future, hopefully goats & chicken
- Walking our dear dog
- We need some online help with marketing and with English writing
We will need help for planting new palm trees and making mud bricks so we can start building some of the rooms. Also we need some people to help us with installing the internet. And we would love it if there are some helpers who can help us in practicing languages to make it better.
We are always thankful for anything you can help with.
Coming from a previous nomadic Tuareg family, my family and I feel most at home deep inside the desert. Far away from the city sounds and lights, we find rest and satisfaction as soon as I enter the quiet, golden dunes.
It is a hard way of living, but at the same time there is a lot of peace to find in the simpleness and in the direct approach to life that the Sahara desert and its surroundings have to offer.
During the everyday life in the small villages, I often think back to the previous life deep in the desert. It contains a certain way of living that is difficult to find in our current time. But in the Sahara desert, it can still be accessible.
The quietness, the harsh but calm lifestyle and realization that we are such a small being in this enormous universe, those are some of the precious gifts that the desert has left behind.