Between the cold, rain, and mud, FoEME’s Youth Water Trustees still found time to learn about green building methods last weekend at the Sharhabil ben Hassneh EcoPark. 24 students from six of our Good Water Neighbors communities travelled to the EcoPark to gain valuable ecobuilding skills and interact with their neighbors. This was the first of a four week series of these camps.
Upon arriving, the youth warmed up with name games, and a delicious dinner prepared by women from the local community. Sitting around the campfire, Palestinian, Israeli, and Jordanian youth began learning about each other and initial apprehension started to dissolve.
The next day opened with more warm up games, as well as some team-building games. Youth had to overcome language barriers and cooperate towards specific goals set by the game. Needless to say, their performance improved with every attempt.
Once warm and energized, we got down to the dirty work. Participants rotated between three workshops consisting of mud building, composting, and a workshop on structure.
Using inorganic waste to create the base of our mud building, youth constructed a bench from old tires and used plastic bottles. This structure was then layered with mud made from a specific mixture of straw and different textures of soil.
In the composting workshop, participants discussed a forest as an example of a compost factory and observed the natural decomposition process occurring in the undergrowth of the forested areas in the EcoPark. The youth then learned how to mimic this process at home using organic waste from their kitchens. The workshop concluded with the creation of an herb spiral using sheet mulching from compost provided by the EcoPark.
In the final workshop on structure, youth learned about Geodesic Domes and constructed one from bamboo. Youth learned why triangles formed the basis of this structure as they provide rigidity and distribute stress evenly. While brainstorming practical applications of this concept in building, youth mentioned the usefulness of creating a sturdy and spacious structure with little very little material.
The day concluded with a talent show around the campfire.
On the third and final day, everybody went on a tour of the EcoPark. The tour included discussion of the importance of restoration and rehabilitation of the Jordan Valley, as well as a discussion on the problems facing the Jordan River.
Difficult goodbyes were said in the rain, and everybody departed home having learned new skills and gained a new set of friends.
– For an article on the Eco Youth Camp in Arabic and more pictures click here.