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Recover our ancient house & oasis with natural materials at the edge of the Sahara, Morocco

  • Favourited 3485 times
  • Last activity: 21 May 2024

Availability

  2024 

 Min stay requested: No minimum

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Details

  • Description

    Description

    Hello dear people,

    We are Said (34) from the Sahara and Linde (31) from the Netherlands. It is our pleasure to meet you!

    I, Said, come from a big Amazigh-Tuareg family. After growing up in the Sahara desert and living many years a nomadic life, our family settled down in a village called Tagounite. Now I live next to the small village Beni Hayoun, 4 kilometers outside Tagounite, where we are working on recovering 200-year old mud house. Behind the house there is a large garden which needs a lot of care and work. Our aim is to make the oasis green again, bring back trees, plants and water, grow enough food and to be a hopeful example for the local community.

    Our wish is to recover and expand this house by (mostly) natural materials and to make this area livable again. The place carries many memories and the history of our ancestors. As a child, my family and I still moved around as nomads, but we would sometimes visit my grandparents in this area, who had already stopped in the area of Tagounite.

    After rebuilding this old house, the goal is to bring back the oasis life - plants, water, birds, insects - in the gardens and help stop desertification, as it is a severe and growing problem in this area. We will also create a small guest space for travelers, a cultural & education place for the local children and an empowering space for the women in this area.

    The village Beni Hayoun 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 moving nomads and by the people who lived here, for making traditional hand works and for trading.

    Every day my father Mohamed, who has lived most of his life a nomad, comes to the house to work in the gardens, collect grass for the animals and sometimes to help with work around the house. Occasionally my younger brother(s) comes to help. Sometimes other members of the family come to visit us.

    Linde, co-founder of the project, is an artist from the Netherlands/Denmark. Her experience includes working in Waldorf kindergartens, creating workshops with children and families in a refugee center, and caring for people in homes for the disabled.
    While living in the project & house for most of the year, Linde helps in and around the project and participates in the organization of the work.

    We are doing various work: rebuilding the adobe house, fixing walls, building new rooms, taking care of the animals, taking care of the palm trees, cooking, cleaning, making bricks, giving shape to our garden and finishing/fixing the water reserves. The work is depending on the season.
    You can choose the work what you would like to do (the work is also depending each period), 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 & teach you what to do and we will be thankful for any help you can do! And feel free to relax when needed.

    We will prepare three healthy meals a day, cooked by ourselves and everyone can get a chance to learn how to prepare the real Moroccan dish.

    In winter we sometimes make fires in the evening for warming ourselves up, and sometimes we play music or use the fire for cooking.

    In our gardens we grow date palms, sometimes wheat & grass and a young olive tree & cotton tree at this moment. Our future goal is to setup a food forest and grow all kinds of trees, organic vegetables, fruits and flowers in the gardens. With the drought here in the south, finding water can be a big difficulty, but we are trying our best to find solutions on how to keep the plants growing. All ideas about permaculture, growing organic food & irrigation systems are welcome and can be helpful :) We recycle all our water and have also created some small water recycle systems.
    We’re currently trying to grow grapes, oranges, lemon, rosemary, basil, aloe vera, roses, some small cactus, sage and several other plants in our gardens. It is each year a big challenge to maintain the garden during our very hot (it can go up to 60 degrees celcius) summers and with little water.

    The house is based in a calm area, and you will find yourself in an oasis consisting of a couple of date palm trees and several fields. We have a donkey, a dog, pigeons, a few sheep and several cats :)

    Since a short while ago we have some electricity and we have created a small plumbing system for water. There is no WiFi in the house (you can get a cheap sim card in town if you need internet) and we sleep in a very old, simple but traditional building made out of mud bricks, which makes the place even more calm. The house is half open because it has no roof in the middle, so that the stars and the moon are largely visible inside the house, giving you the feeling that you are very directly in nature.

    The place where we are settled gives you a good experience to get a lot of ideas about the basic ways of a nomadic life. For a moment you can discover and understand how technology can change your life. At the same time, it is a good opportunity to enjoy the peace and quiet and escape the rush of modern life. The weather here is sunny every day, you can enjoy gorgeous sunsets almost every evening and at night you can see the millions of stars or the beautifully bright moon in the sky.

    We enjoy meeting people from different backgrounds and all kinds of cultures. Through this way, we hope to exchange various 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 desert.

    We will be very happy to organise a tour into the Sahara desert if you are interested, and it is Saids pleasure to show & tell you more about his roots and the surroundings of the Sahara where he was born and where he grew up.


    ARRIVAL
    When you arrive to Tagounite, we (Said or Said & Linde) will come to the bus station to meet you there. After that we will find a transport to go to the project in Beni Hayoun (either we call a tuk tuk-taxi, this costs 70dh, or Said takes you by his motorbike).

    It is our pleasure to host you in our home and we are thankful to receive your help! We will do our best to make everything as comfortable as possible for everyone so we can all have a good experience.

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    Language practice
    Help with Eco Projects
    Gardening
    DIY and building projects
    Animal Care
    Farmstay help
    Creating/ Cooking family meals
    Help around the house
    General Maintenance
    Help with Computers/ Internet
  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    We are delighted if you become a part of our project and we will be happy to receive you here.
    Within the work we show you old and traditional techniques, and show you how to build and create in a natural and simple way. It will also be wonderful to teach you how to cook traditional Moroccan food. There are many stories to tell about our history, way of life and about the Sahara, where Said's roots lay. He will be happy to share his knowledge with you.

  • Projects involving children

    Projects involving children

    This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.

  • Help

    Help

    The tasks could be all kinds of different tasks, varying day by day or week by week, like:

    - Harvesting grass for the animals
    - 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 from 2 types of sand and water
    - Mixing mud and making a lot of mud bricks
    - Preparing the fields
    - Planting palms
    - Sieving sand that we will use to cover the walls
    - 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
    - Moving rocks
    - Creating covers for the water reserves
    - In some periods we need help with collecting water
    - Digging canals for water
    - Create irrigation systems
    - Watering the plants. We use recycled water for watering the plants
    - Gardening. In certain periods we plant new trees and plants and we want to grow organic vegetables and fruits as soon as we have a well
    - Daily care of our animals; our dog, the cats, donkey and goats. The plan is to have other different animals in the future
    - Fixing and cleaning the old rooms and walls (made with mud)
    - Make new door entrances in the rooms
    - Building benches inside the house
    - Building a wall around the project
    - We need help with finding funds
    - And with English writing and marketing for our desert tour website

    We are always thankful for anything you can help with! Besides the work there is a lot of free time where you can relax, or we will be happy to walk together with you in the palm gardens. If you like to visit the nearby village Tagounite, we can arrange a visit to go there all together by tuk tuk.

  • Languages

    Languages spoken
    Arabic: Fluent
    Berber: Fluent
    Danish: Fluent
    English: Fluent
    Dutch: Fluent
    French: Intermediate
    German: Beginner
    Italian: Beginner

    This host offers a language exchange
    This host has indicated that they are interested in sharing their own language or learning a new language.
    You can contact them directly for more information.

  • Accommodation

    Accommodation

    When you arrive in Tagounite by bus or taxi, you will find us waiting for you at the CTM busstation. From there we will go to Beni Hayoun, sometimes by motorcycle or we can call a tuktuk (70 dirham) for you.

    In the house we have two shared rooms which you can use and share with the other volunteers. We sleep on the floor, and you can use our mattresses, pillows, blankets and sheets for sleeping. We also have one large bed if desired.

    The meals will take place together in the living room, in our open space inside the house or outside in the gardens. We will cook, eat and clean together.

    We have a traditional Moroccan bucket shower and toilet which you can use. We recycle all our water and have several systems for this, which we are happy to explain to you when you're here. As we use a part of the recycled water for the garden, please bring a natural soap.

    Next to the house there is a wonderful palm garden where you can relax and enjoy the many beautiful sunsets.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    BUSTIMES
    There are many departure times of the busses, sometimes the times will change, and we can help you to arrange and find out about these times.

    Marrakech to Tagounite by the CTM bus (fixed bustime, departs every day):
    leaves at 11.30 am, arrives around 9 pm in the evening.

    The night bus from Agadir to Tagounite (fixed bustime, departs every day):
    leaves around 9 pm, arrives at 6 am in the morning.

    There are also many shared taxi’s (grand taxi) you can take at any time.


    We work around 3/4 hours every day and around 5 days a week, but the amount of work is always depending on the weather, how much water we have available for the work & on the type of work we're currently doing. Life here is calm but at the same time never predictable.

    There is a lot of free time, where we can walk together into the palm oasis before the sunset or rest in our gardens, read, write, play cards, have conversations over Moroccan tea and listen to the beautiful stories Said has to tell :)


    Some practical information:
    - The weather is sunny everyday and the sun is very hot, so bring sunscreen
    - Bring with you a comfortable shoes for working and some flipflops
    - In summer (April-October): bring mosquito repellant and if possible a mosquito net
    - Please bring your own towel and if possible natural shower soap (as the water goes into the earth & garden)
    - It is good if you bring clothes that cover the legs and shoulders, out of respect for the locals
    - Please let us know what kind of transport you will use so that we can be waiting for you in right time
    - Let us know if you eat vegetarian or vegan, or if you have any diets/allergies. We are flexible with food and always do our best to accommodate everyone's dietary requirements
    - During winter the nights are very cold, so bring warm clothes as well if you are coming in winter
    - We are very happy to organise a Sahara tour for you, if desired
    - Due to wild dogs and passed on responsibility, walks outside the property will be enjoyed only together. This does limit your ability to explore the area alone, but opens doors for closer connection to the land and yourself.

    Thank you for your understanding and please don’t hesitate to ask any questions you have in mind!

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

    • Can host families

  • Can host digital nomads

    Can host digital nomads

    We don't have Wifi but you can get a Moroccan simcard for free in most airports and add gigabytes to it. Currently Maroc Telecom works best in our region.

  • Space for parking camper vans

    Space for parking camper vans

    We have built an entrance into our garden for cars/campervans, or you can park at the side of the road directly behind our house.

  • Can possibly accept pets

    Can possibly accept pets

    Yes we do. Please take in mind that we have one lovely dog, several cats and a donkey

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    Maximum 3-4 hours a day, 5 days a week

Host ref number: 139544478571

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