Wide Earth Smallholding

Wide Earth Smallholding

And Allaah has made for you the earth a wide expanse.(Qur'aan- 71:19)

From the Ground Up: Building a Village, Eco-Kid Style: Creative Parenting, Part Four

This is the fourth in our series on Creative Parenting. This post was written a little over a year ago. Insh’Allaah be sure to check in for new posts in the series weekly! 

To read more about their build a village project, visit here and here.

I’ve been homeschooling my children for all of their lives. There are ups and downs, times when they are excited and times when they get bored and lethargic. When we decided to return to the States recently, they seemed to feel that that meant no more homeschooling. To get their energy levels back up I decided to set them a challenge that would continue through the year, from Yemen to America.

They were told to design a largely self-sustaining, environmentally friendly, culturally appropriate village, complete with houses, businesses, gardens…in short,whatever they felt was necessary to make the village work. They had to do this from scratch, choosing a site, evaluating it, seeing what resources existed and what the climate was like, determining need and wants for the community, planning housing, looking at livelihood possibilities for the occupants, and even crops, livestock, and energy planning. In the end they will build two model homes using two different alternative systems, and will have an extensive portfolio of designs and ideas that they can apply in real situations throughout their lives.

Nusaybah's House
Nusaybah’s House

Before we left Yemen, some of them had already made their house models. Juwairiyah and Nusaybah made their of compressed earth and cob, using stone molds and props to assist informing the walls. Hudhaifah used mud blocks in a pseudo Earthship house. The bricks were made by his little siblings, Mu’aadh and Maryam. The two of them had a little temporary business going, and made a few riyals with their brick-making enterprise; utilizing the principles of using local labor, local materials, and local building styles to make a house appropriate to the climate and geography of the area.

The mud brick business
The mud brick business

Juwairiyah, my thirteen-year-old daughter, is the least excited about the whole project. She has worked on her own house, but turns up her nose about some of her siblings’ “green” ideas, such as compost toilets. “If you’re going to have those,” she says, “I’ll make my own sewage treatment plant and hook my toilets up to it!” She says that Permaculture is “too complicated”- but I am hoping to wear her down on that one, as I explain how at its simplest it is observing patterns in nature and mimicking them in our own growing systems.

The land they have chosen to “build” on is in Colorado, near Boulder. Sukhailah has been studying the climate and geography of that area, and has been designing gardens and zones based on many of the principles of Permaculture. Hudhaifah is designing an alternative energy system based largely on solar, but using other methods as well. They have been reading up on composting toilets and livestock such as chickens and sheep. They record all of their ideas and observations and are working together to come up with a village that is a model of sustainability and environmental consciousness.

How will it all turn out? I’ll post progress reports as we go along. I didn’t place any time limit on their project, so that they can research and explore as many ideas and possibilities as they want to. They are gaining knowledge in so many beneficial areas. But perhaps more importantly, they are learning how they can truly make a difference in their world.

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  1. Alhamdulilah ukhti how exciting. May allah facilitate your move, give u good neighbors, healthy animals and fertile land. May allah give your family health and peace of mind in keep u close to his teachings and remembrance. very happy for u sis.

    1. Ameen! Alhamdulillah, I am looking forward to continuing my teaching online and, insh’Allaah expanding it, so I am looking forward to that as well, mash’Allaah. And with Allaah is the success.

  2. Alhamdulilah! Sounds beautiful, maa shaa Allaah. May Allaah Azza wa Jal make your move easy, place barakah in it, and bless you and your family with fertile land, Aameen! This is something I have wanted to do for awhile now. What goat farming forums did your husband look on? Inshaa Allaah if you could share resources it would be very much appreciated. BaarakAllaahu feeki!

    1. I will ask him, insh’Allaah! Basically we read everything we can get our hands on, mash’Allaah, and attend seminars and such whenever we are able. Now to get the goats, insh’Allaah!

  3. Asalaamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu,

    Mashallah I am so excited for you and your family! When you mentioned that you would be moving I was curious as to how far. As for the rent to own, I was under the impression you are paying a higher rent…so *should* you decide to one day buy, a portion of that rent would go towards the payment of the house. Which is okay, I just used to think it meant all the money goes towards paying off the house/land.

    Please keep us updated!! My family and myself are trying to stay patient as we pay off our land inshallah and can start building. Subhanallah it is so difficult to get things done here without interest, but by the Mercy of Allah, things just have a way of working out!!

    May Allah Aza wa Jaal bless you and your family for all that you do for your community and the rest of us!! Ameen.

    1. Wa Aleikum Assalam wa Rahmatullah
      BarakAllahufeekee! Insh’Allaah keep me up to date with what you and your family are working on and towards, may Allaah put baraka in your efforts.
      I always thought that about the rent to own as well, mash’Allaah. I have heard in a few cases where people were actually able to put their whole rent towards owning the land, but I think you are right, most of the time that is not the case.
      You are so right about things working out, alhamdulillah, this is proven to me again and again in my life and the stories I hear from others.

  4. I know you will totally in your element! I can’t wait to see what you produce in your garden and the animals you will raise. My friend who blogs with me has a farm and the stories she shares are pretty amazing. Having a homestead will be such an adventure, and I will be along for the reading ride. May Allaah bless you in in fully, ameen

    1. Ameen! BarakAllaahufeekee. Insh’Allaah! We already have our noses deep in seed catalogs, and are thinking of what kinds of chickens and goats to raise.

  5. Salam Alaykoem Sister,

    Alhamdullilah for your new lodging. I also love and miss the snow and haven’t been back in so long or seen the snow in soo long.

    Even though you are so happy I hope you don’t give up on Hijrah. You were such a classic and a beauty in Yemen. It secretly breaks my heart even though I understand.

    Love your sister stuck in Libya,


    1. Wa Aleikum Assalam wa Rahmatullah
      No, I will not give up on that, insh’Allaah! Huge chunks of my heart still reside in Yemen, and insh’Allaah one day we will be able to return. I ask Allaah to make that possible and easy for us, Ameen.

      1. Yes InshaAllah and then you can be with your grand kids and your son Mujaahid who I think is also a big part of you. Maybe you are just trying your best to get on your feet so you can go back.

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