the beauty of working hands

We are very busy and occupied here these weeks, preparing for a big celebration at our school, inchaallah.

These are the (hands of the) wonderful women of our village, Allahumma barik. Mothers of our school’s pupils and neighbors and friends –  also busy working together in a womens’ cooperative for wool and felted products.

You are welcome to visit them and see their work!
Cooperative Tilatin, village de Timit, Ait Bouguemez valley, Morocco High Atlas

Or come and meet them and us at our big open doors- party, the weekend of 1st May. Marhaban!


the felting continues _ women empowerment

coop enrty spinnen weben

now, more than five years later, a new women’s felting group grows in our village.
it’s mostly the mothers of the former felting girls and some mothers of our school’s pupils who want to be active now. subhanallah, with a lot of courage, zest, creativity and diligence they’ve put themselves together to establish a women’s cooperative. it is a pleasure to see their aspiration and dedication, their willingness to learn, to develop and to grow a business, despite the fact that most of them are illiterate and never worked or visited places outside their home and the valley.
I feel very honoured to know such women, alhamdulillah, their strenght and beautiful sense of “naive art” are touching and impressing.

If you come to our valley, you are warmly welcome to visit their little shop!

these are some of the products they produce:

coop armband coop bags coop herzen

more to read here: https://ecolevivante.wordpress.com/2015/07/09/empowerment-project-for-women/

 

coop rugs coop stifte

 

Living in Morocco’s Mountains _ social contacts to women

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Over the last ten years, since living in this happy valley, I went through different stages of social integration, alhamdulillah.
The first year here we lived in a small room with my father in law. I found myself, as the only stranger/foreigner, in the middle of Berbers in the midst of a little Berber village.
To live amongst the local people, sharing their simple lifestyle and doing like them, helped me enormously to integrate into society and to learn the language, the habits and the do’s and don’ts.

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I was in contact with the people all the time, but to make friends and to get in deeper contact with the women outside our household was quiet hard. The language was a barrier and with my background, my education and experiences, I felt quite different.
Most of the women had never been out of the valley or to bigger cities, most of them could not read or write. But they seemed fulfilled with their duties and were masters of their craft in the kitchen and with the animals.
During the first months I always thought that, if I would like to fully integrate here, I would have to be like them, to dress like them and to do like them. But I soon understood that this wouldn’t be possible and would not help. I felt that I can learn much of them, but I also felt that I have some things to give, inchaallah. Instead of proving being able to bake soft bread as round as the sun, I did better concentrating on the special things I personally hd to share with them.
Deep respect, real interest and constant exchange became the keys for my growing relationships. Not trying to make the other like me, but to be open, to serve, to share and to learn each one of the other enriched all of us, alhamdulillah.
Our same Islamic faith, the shared belief in Allah and doing prayers together often helped to establish confidence and to keep connected on a higher level, subhanallah.

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I learned how to make couscous, they learned how to bake chocolate cake.
I got to know how to cut hay, they learned how to brush teeth…
A wonderful way of mutual learning began.
And it didn’t took long until some of the young girls of our village asked me if I had an idea how they could work together and earn some money. The idea of a wool felting group grew and together we learned different techniques.
Uniting our different skills enabled us to create wonderful things:
their knowledge of the wool-working-process from the sheep to the soft fiber and my knowing of internet-use for inspiration and ideas;
their experience in dyeing wool and my ability to read, try, learn and teach the felting technique;
their traditional and pure feeling for simple patterns and my feeling for modern design and arts – all of this together gave birth to wonderful moments of getting to know each other, to grow together and to create beautiful things which we could sell to tourists so the girls could make some money. A women’s felting group was born and two years we regularly met and worked together (Here I sometimes wrote about it on this blog).

Then the girls grew older, some married, some left the valley and God had other plans for each one of us. My family and I were then very occupied with the new school and other things and for some years the felting group wasn’t active. Through the école vivante new cross-cultural exchange and my integration into the local society continued in different ways, but the key to real and deep encounters always was and still is by do something meaningful, by sharing, by giving and being open to the other, by respect of the differences between us and by focusing on what unites us and what we have in common.

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Spring Dyeing – The Iris flower

  
  

Spring is really here now, alhamdulillah, and the iris flowers we’ve planted last year after baby’s birth are in full blossom, subhanallah. What a beautiful violet ocean… 
It’s been a long time that I haven’t dyed wool. But now with these lilac gems in my garden I simply had to give it a go again.
I didn’t found any information about iris-dyeing online, so I started deliberately by giving the carded wool, some withered iris flowers and a bit of alum into a big cooking pot with a lot of cold water. Then I slowly brought it to boil, turned off the heat and left the whole “juice” over night.
The next day my wool came out in a beautiful light turquoise green colour – mashaallah.

I liked that colour so much that I took the used colour bath again and gave some cotton fabric in, which got that lovely colour as well, even darker than the wool.

Ah subhanallah, there is simply no colour as beautiful to my eye as nature dyed wool and fabric!
I am so impressed by the beauty of the outcome and even kind of proud of that discovery because, you know, getting these blue-green colours out of nature is not that easy and I had same results only with red cabbage.

So here’s now off now to some more dyeing and felting, yours itto …. wishing you a blessed Friday!

Spring Clean

  
  
  

It is going to be this time of the year when the almonds blossom, the fields get green again and I feel the big urge to spring clean our life and living.
Just as Allah cleans the nature with rain, beautifies it with flowers and green grass and clears it up with fresh winds, subhanallah, I feel the need to do so as well with my little spaces. It is once again all about beautifying and creating a blissful home and about implementing new inspiration and fresh ideas.

So I decided to dedicate this new month to “Spring Clean 2010”, inchaallah.
Not only do I want to do a deep cleaning of the whole house, but also purify our bodies and souls. I wanna clean up hidden corners around our home but as well those in my mind. I wanna beautify the rooms but as well beautify my Iman (faith) with some new knowledge. I wanna renew our wardrobes but as well our meal-plan.
I already sat down and thought about all the things that need a clean and a change. I made a list to write down all the ideas for changes around the house and for what to do in every room along with the regular weekly cleaning. I collected ideas for new decoration items, for crafting ideas, fresh wardrobe design and healthier meals…
So here’s a lot to do, inchaallah, and maybe I will give you some updates along this month on how we’re going on with all of it.
But for now, I leave you with a “salamou alaikoum and happy March!” and with some fresh ideas to get inspired:

Some spiritual decoration and design 
How to clean up the kid’s room
Lovely felted boxes in different forms

February Felting

  
  
  

Some pictures of today’s felt-group-meeting with the girls on our terrace, in beautiful warm sunshine and in remembrance of Khadija, one of the girls who died a few weeks ago at the very young age of 18 from a hard winter cold, mashaallah.
« Inna Lillahi oua inna ilaihi rajeoon »

Blissful sunny weekend to you and yours! masalama.