By: Rahaf Rifai
During the month of November, I was lucky enough to have represented the Dalia Association in the Urban Remedy training that took place in Berlin. The training revolved around a topic that I hold dear to my heart and is fundamentally interlinked with my work here at Dalia. The Urban Remedy training was regarding urban gardening and the mobilization of youth around these gardens. The amount of knowledge and experience shared during the training was amazing. I gained knowledge about various topics; from seeding, to sustainable gardening and to insects and microscopic beings. At first glance, these topics might appear distinct and not closely related to each other, but upon further examination, I was shocked and excited to see how these different topics were tightly related and depended on each other. What I also found quite interesting is that our community and society functions in a similar manner; you have to take care of all aspects because if one aspect flourishes others will follow suit, and if one aspect withers all aspects will be surely affected. That is why it is of vital importance to take care of the community and mobilize youth groups around something so satisfactory like urban gardening. Since it aids in empowering these groups and helps in their reintegration and rooting in society.
Moreover, the importance of the training isn’t only relevant in the seminar rooms but seeps easily into real life. For instance, in Palestine food sovereignty is immensely vital for us to get a hold of our recourses, and in order for us to properly benefit from our resources, we need to appreciate them especially our environmental ones, to know how to take care of them properly and lovingly, and to benefit from the endless bounties that our land has to offer. If we keep polluting the land and degrading its quality we will face morbid consequences. Additionally, in Palestine, there is a very serious problem regarding youth unemployment which creates frustration among the Palestinian youth. By engaging those youth around urban gardening the frustration will be lessened and we will be able to make a substantial segment in Palestine much more productive.
Lastly, I would like to take a step back from all the technicalities and speak in a less formal tone. When I first arrived at the venue I learned that the accommodation and the workplace are in the same floor, meaning that I will be spending every waking and non-waking hour (since we were six in the same room) with the same people over a period of ten days. And me being someone who valued my privacy, I braced myself and got ready for the battle ahead. How am I going to share the room with six more people? Why are we spending all this time together? I hope I won’t have a breakdown or be overwhelmed! All of these thoughts and more ran wild in my mind and they wouldn’t go away. UNTIL, I met the people that are participating in the training, and we shared so many things about our cultures and our lives that we as a group became so close in a matter of days. Living with this group of people was first an unimaginable thought, by the end of the training period, the idea of not having them around seemed unimaginable to me.
To sum everything up, during the ten days of training I gained fundamental knowledge, came up with amazing ideas and met amazing people. If there is one thing in common in all these things, it is keeping an open mind and an open heart in every situation, because the results can be either fascinating and enriching or boring and fading.