Why was he contacting me, of all people? First of all, I am one of his (enthusiastic) students and as a dryland dweller myself, I have a dedicated my efforts to rehabilitating the hot, dry places of the world. In fact, it is one of my missions to see the Salt River - the river that runs through Phoenix - actually flow again. And yes, this is something that many of us locally are working on. On top of that, I will be interning at the Jordan site myself later this year. For my project, I'll be working on documenting the development of that site so that it can be resource for others.
So back to Geoff's request. Here's what they need. They need more international students in the course. Why?
The "Greening the Desert - the Sequel" site was built as a demonstration site and training center to enable permaculture to spread throughout the region. It is also an AID project aimed at alleviating poverty, enhancing human health and addressing extreme water issues. With a large refugee population from Palestine in the area and probably more refugees coming from Syria, this site showcases real, on-the-ground solutions for meeting the needs of these displaced people in a way that can be implemented and spread throughout the region. In fact, due to a great deal of persistence in the face of many obstacles, there are now several sites popping up around the area that have espoused permaculture methodology. Local people have come to see the many benefits of this project in their community and are actively applying the same techniques themselves.
This site is currently funded by people paying to come to the courses and internships. Because Jordan is a poor country - there is no oil - the fees of international students from first world countries help pay for the participation of local people. And it is critical that this information reach local people whose day-to-day lives are impacted by their environment.
Site development over the years:
If you can attend the inaugural English/Arabic PDC in Jordan starting April 19th, please sign up HERE. Being part of this inaugural class is bound to be a special experience. Plus you get to experience first-hand the huge impact this project has made.
Can't attend the class but still want to help? Here's how.
Opportunity #1: A young Somali man, Abdulqadir Bashir Hussein, is trying to raise funds to attend this course. He needs help getting there. You can help fund his participation.
Here's why you want to support him: Somalia is a very poor country devastated by decades of war, famine and strife. It is also a dryland country, like Jordan. What Abdulqadir learns in Jordan he can directly apply to his homeland. And they need all the help they can get, as soon as they can get it.
How do I know this? Personal experience.
As a child, I lived in Mogadishu, Somalia for two years. My family was there because my father, a civil engineer, was working on a USAID project to improve water quality by capping contaminated wells and building new wells. Most of the city of Mogadishu did not have indoor plumbing at that time - they relied on public wells scattered about the city for their daily water. Here is a Pinterest board of photos of this project.
A typical city well in Mogadishu
Opportunity #2: Donate directly to PRI Jordan. When you make a donation, you can add notes to your payment to indicate it is in support of local Jordanians taking the bi-lingual PDC in April.
Opportunity #3: Help spread the word to your social media contacts. Working together we really, truly can create the world we all want to live in.
So go ahead and share some "Care of People" love. Here’s where we get to say "I made a difference - I took a stand for something positive and practical in the world. I helped reverse desertification. And I helped spread that knowledge to the people who need it the most."
Rock on permaculture community, rock on!
Enjoying a break and a snack in the shade at the Greening the Desert site in Jordan.
Subtropical desert (Köppen: BWh)
Elevation: 1090 ft Annual rainfall: 7"
Thanks for sharing this information! While I am not able to attend this PDC, I'm happy to be able to send a donation of $5 dollars to help Alex attend it or another PDC. It is not a lot of money, but hopefully it will help, and may inspire other readers to know that no donation is too small!
Jennifer, thanks for this - I love Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon - and I have this daft notion that Permaculture could be a major piece of the puzzle to bring peace to the overall region. I'm from Northern Ireland, so "dry land" is not something I get to experience every day - it rains a LOT here (which is why it's the Emerald Isle, I suppose). But what Geoff is doing with the people in these regions, culturally sensitive, locally meaningful, and based around an uplifting and positive affirming ethic - that is just brilliant. I'm sure you've seen John D Liu's "Hope in a Changing Climate" video - he talks to some incredible and brilliant locally-produced permaculture geniuses who are making a real difference, not with dreamcatchers and songs, but with excellent design. Some day I very much hope to do a PDC out in Jordan - and I would highly recommend learning a bit of Arabic. It's a beautiful language - there's a great podcast www.arabicpod.net which has tons of free lessons.