From Organic Gardening to Permaculture

Spring: being outside, digging in the earth, weekend-gardening and actually learning a lot about how to change our already organic way of living into a real harmonious and reciprocal co-existence with nature and animals, way beyond sustainability.
We’re deep into permaculture, at home and in the school, with family, professionals from around the world and with the community: https://ecolevivante.wordpress.com/category/permaculture-vivante/

Happy spring to you and yours!

The three ethical principles of Permaculture are as follows:

  • Care of the earth
  • Care of people
  • Return of surplus to earth, animals and people

The Permaculture ethics compel us to take personal responsibility for our actions. We can either “choose to be part of the problem or part of the solution”, the choice is ours!

Twelve Permaculture design principles articulated by David Holmgren in his Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability:[17] 

  1. Observe and interact: By taking time to engage with nature we can design solutions that suit our particular situation.
  2. Catch and store energy: By developing systems that collect resources at peak abundance, we can use them in times of need.
  3. Obtain a yield: Ensure that you are getting truly useful rewards as part of the work that you are doing.
  4. Apply self-regulation and accept feedback: We need to discourage inappropriate activity to ensure that systems can continue to function well.
  5. Use and value renewable resources and services: Make the best use of nature’s abundance to reduce our consumptive behavior and dependence on non-renewable resources.
  6. Produce no waste: By valuing and making use of all the resources that are available to us, nothing goes to waste.
  7. Design from patterns to details: By stepping back, we can observe patterns in nature and society. These can form the backbone of our designs, with the details filled in as we go.
  8. Integrate rather than segregate: By putting the right things in the right place, relationships develop between those things and they work together to support each other.
  9. Use small and slow solutions: Small and slow systems are easier to maintain than big ones, making better use of local resources and producing more sustainable outcomes.
  10. Use and value diversity: Diversity reduces vulnerability to a variety of threats and takes advantage of the unique nature of the environment in which it resides.
  11. Use edges and value the marginal: The interface between things is where the most interesting events take place. These are often the most valuable, diverse and productive elements in the system.
  12. Creatively use and respond to change: We can have a positive impact on inevitable change by carefully observing, and then intervening at the right time.

Literature: Sepp Holzer, Masanobu Fukuoka, Bill Mollison

Information online:

http://permaculturenews.org/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permaculture

http://www.docspicepermaculture.com/

http://www.geofflawtononline.com/

and more detailed articles on change from organic gardening to Permaculture:  

http://www.permaculturevisions.com/difference-between-organic-gardening-and-permaculture/

and on Islam and Permaculture:

http://www.treehugger.com/sustainable-agriculture/are-islam-and-permaculture-match-made-heaven.html

http://www.treehugger.com/culture/humans-are-trustees-of-allahs-creation-islam-the-environment.html

https://www.greenprophet.com/2012/01/interview-nadia-lawton-talks-about-permaculture-in-the-middle-east/

https://aworldofgreenmuslims.wordpress.com/2012/01/20/green-farming-and-islam-permaculture-in-jordan/

http://www.greenmuslims.org/a-brief-introduction-to-permaculture-sustaining-our-future-and-why-it-matters-to-muslims/

https://www.greenprophet.com/2013/05/ask-geoff-how-to-grow-a-forest-garden-free-permaculture-videos/

http://www.theecomuslim.com/2014/01/salah-hammad-urban-gardener.html

 

 

Past Present Future 01’17

drachen4

The new (miladi)-year 2017 just began, and even though it is still “new”, it also is already nearly two weeks “old”:
the white, blank pages of my organizer fill consistently, my last post is long ago, and while I’m observing the passing of time, I feel the need to reflect on things that passed and things to come.

Last year was full of change and development, sometimes very demanding and exhausting, but also promising and full of joy and beauty, alhamdulillah.
If I would have to put the essence of the last year into a few words, I would call it “transistion”.

A lot of my private life is very much related to my work life – in fact our school and everything connected to it IS our life – it is a life-project, present in our heart and mind 24/24h and 7/7days, alhamdulillah, and last year we had the chance to develop and realize many incredible things, alhamdulillah.
So, a lot of my reflections concerning the last year are related to the events and development of campus vivant’e and can be read on our latest newsletter here: https://ecolevivante.wordpress.com/2017/01/13/news-from-the-campus

news-sm

If I fade out the project and look at my personal last year, I see that I learned a lot about myself, I met very interesting people and made important life choices and changes. But there is, beside the very many other things, one thing that stands out in 2016:

It was the medical result we got last February that scientifically confirmed that our smallest son (3 years old) also is hearing impaired, just like our daughter, mashallah.
First, this was a shock and very sad news, even though we had suspicions since several months and were kind of prepared to the fact that he also is deaf. But it hurt. Just as it did 5 years before with our girl, and from time to time again.

But thanks God, subhanallah, the things changed to better and better; the burden of having two children who have difficulties to hear turned more and more out to be a blessing.
We got the chance to learn a lot together as a family and even with society here.
Through a professional volunteer from Berlin, who came living in our valley for more than three months, we, and the whole school (teachers, some parents and pupils), learned sign language and communication with the deaf. It was a real gift to see so many people beginning to happily signing and understanding each other.

new-horizons

And it was and still is very touching to see especially our own two children evolving great communication skills between them and with others. Even our smallest boy’s capability to make himself understood by signs and words unfolds now in beautiful ways.
I can see how sign language helps him developing his spoken language and learning skills in general and how his older sister benefits from having a mate and someone who shares the situation with her. They support each other, they help and encourage each other, they grow and have fun together and they fight for their rights as 2 deaf children in a family of 4 hearing people.

It’s incredible to see their strength and courage in life. Allahumma barik.
So everything developed for the better, subhanallah, tabarakallah, and I am looking forward to accompany and to see those two little souls flourishing and growing in their own very special and  beautiful ways, teaching us a lot by just being who they are, inchaallah.

“after burden comes ease” – it’s so true, I assure you, we can count on HIM –  Allahu akbar!

Wishing you light, love, peace for 2017
and a never ending trust in God’s wisdom and the divine ways!

drachen3

Embracing the New

planen1

September – the holidays are over, summer is almost gone.
It’s the beginning of autumn;
It’s the start of a new school year ; of new plans to make and a new rhythm to find.
Back to work;  back to my dear morning quiet time routine;  back to the everyday.

Alhamdulillah, many blessings lie behind us and beautiful things await us, inchaallah.
I am thankful for two rich and fulfilled months of vacation and am looking forward now to face new challenges, to discover new adventures, to start new projects, to meet new people and to make new development;
I try to pull force and courage from success of the past and to embrace the unknown with joy. I trust in God’s paths and learn more and more to stay calm and to distinguish between my business, the others business and God’s business.

I wish you a happy autumn and a start of many blessed new experiences!
Salam aleikoum friends!

planen-me
planen2

busy learning

classe2

salam aleikoum friends,

it is quiet here on this blog of mine and this is the first post I write in 2016 – so happy new year to all of you!
but I guess you know what that means: if it is quiet here, it is very busy in real life. many things to do away from this little space of mine.
I invite you to have a look at our school’s blog or facebook-site where you can read about some of the activities I am involved with and also look at the trailer of the film our partner school produce after visiting us in 2014.
thanks for your wishes on my last post and wishing you all the best again,
until soon, inchaallah xxx , blessings and peace.

en classeschulnacht feuer spagessen erdbau collegedach2 arbeit4  zuckerfrei1 mim1

Bringing Light _ Thoughts on Gandalf and Leadership

tal licht Gandalf

“Why is she talking about Gandalf today?”, you might ask.
Well, you know, I love the “Lord of the Rings”- stories, I am a real fan of this fantasy trilogy, of the books and the movie. For me, they reflect and express the struggles of humanity, much of what’s happening in the world since thousands of years: the cycle of destruction and recreation, the fight between light and darkness, between shadow and sun, the fights between the elements of the whole creation, the inter-dependency of all and everything and how we are all connected – the fighting that shows on a larger scale what happens in a smaller scale in every one of us: the fight between good and evil and the longing for balance and peace and the struggle to find harmony.

For me, Tolkien’s tales are wonderful entertainment that speaks to me on high and deep levels.
One of the heroes of Tolkien’s stories, maybe the most important one, is Gandalf, the wizard, described as “the greatest spirit and the wisest, warm and eager, opposing the fire that devours and wastes with the fire that kindles and succors in wan hope and distress; but his joy and his swift wrath were veiled in garments grey as ash, so that only those that knew him well glimpsed the flame that was within. Merry he could be, and kindly to the young and simple, yet quick at times to sharp speech and the rebuking of folly; but he was not proud, and sought neither power nor praise… “

gandalf2

With all that happens in the world, with my work and responsibility here, the school and what we do every day, I have to learn a lot about leadership. And to me, Gandalf embodies a real leader who shows with his behavior and his whole being the big range of positive impact great leadership can make.

And in the end, we are all leaders: “All of you are shepherds and each of you is responsible for his flock. An imam is a shepherd and he is responsible for those in his care. A man is a shepherd in respect of his family and is responsible for those in his care. The woman is a shepherd in respect of her husband’s house and is responsible for what is in her care. The servant is a shepherd in respect of his master’s property and is responsible for what is in his care. All of you are shepherds and each of you is responsible for his flock.” (Hadith of the Prophet sas, reported by Abdullah bin Umar) 

– that’s what our dear prophet Muhammad (sas) taught us.
And a shepherd is a leader. In one or another part of our life’s we all are leaders. So we all need to learn about leadership, we need good role models and great examples to follow.
Prophet Muhammad (sas) was surely the best of all leaders, the one all Muslims try to follow.
And right after him came his companions Caliph Abu Bakar, Umar, Othman, and Ali, they all practiced great leadership principles and achieved highest places in human history.
An there were others, wonderful examples, like Jesus and all the other great prophets like Moses and Abraham, but also modern men like Gandhi or Martin Luther King.

gandalf3

If we want to learn from them, we have to analyze the basic principles that made them successful, and with successful I do not mean powerful, because a really good leader is one who empowers others.

A great leader is one who has positive influence on others, adding value to the life of others and bringing out the best in them.  A great leader is seeing and reaching far, he is carried by high and honorable moral settings, he has a strong vision and deep faith in and thankfulness towards a higher source (God, Allah).

“God is the protector of those who have faith: From depths of darkness He leads them forth into light” Quran 2:257

So a great leader is carrying a light that enlightens everything around him.
A great leader is one who is kind, righteous, fair and just, always in service for others, humble, generous, pious, courageous, committed, patient and strong.
He has compassion and empathy, trustworthiness, integrity, truthfulness, honesty, a noble character. He is touching the hearts of others, living up to his full potential, acting responsible and giving responsibility to others.

A great leader has great communication skills and is always establishing teamwork, knowing that he can achieve only with his group. So he is taking care of the needs of his followers, modelling a good way and being a good example, he is walking his talk. A great leader is one with a good planning, structure and aims, ready for sacrifice, continuously developing his own skills and personality, learning and growing, always seeking knowledge and wisdom,  encouraging the development and the strengths of each follower, uniting mankind and reducing thoughts of separateness and hostility.

Muhammad surely was the greatest leader on earth, in the Quran and Sunnah we get huge advice on how to do like he did. To follow his example is my wish, inchaallah.
And for me, Gandalf, as well as manyothers, followed these footsteps on the way towards truth and light.

More to read for example here or see the books on my list:

http://muslimmatters.org/?s=21+lessons+in+leadership

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gandalf

http://fosis.org.uk/islamic-societies/projects/709-leadership-lessons-from-the-quran

http://www.irfi.org/articles/articles_1401_1450/islamic_leadership_principles.htm 

 

 

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