A week in SEKEM
Spending a week long in a man made paradise
Posted on 10 July 2018, by Ursula Haberstroh
Without any Cairo program I discovered the serenity of one of the amazing initiatives there is: SEKEM
One week in Sekem
My English and German friends asked me before starting my trip, "where" and "what" Sekem is and "how" I came up with that. "Where?" I could answer them straight away, "what" only through the newsletters with the reports I have received and read from Sekem. "How": I often talked to Egyptian friends in London about their country when one day the subject arose about the desert and drinking water supply etc. By browsing the internet I’ve got more information later on and also came across Sekem. This was 3 years ago and since then I have been reading Sekem newsletters and reports. To read or to actually see and experience Sekem is a difference, so I booked a one-week stay without a Cairo program organized by Mr. Kreuer's SEKEM-Reisen.
After a one-and-a-half-hour flight delay, buying the visa and passing through the airport controls, the driver could finally take me to Sekem Farm at 11:00 pm. From the entrance of the farm towards the guesthouse, the tall trees fascinated me. Of course, I did not see much that night, but I heard some birds.
The first and the second day Rafik walked around Sekem Farm with me showing me the kindergarten, the school, the training center, the hospital as well as the companies Naturtex, Lotus and Isis. It has been very interesting for me to get all the information from Rafik and amazed me that the initial pioneering work of one individual, Dr. Ibrahim Abouleish, who started with only few hectares of farmland, has become such a large farm with its own companies and cooperation with other Egyptian farmers. Quite a Wow effect!
In the following days I visited the vegetable farm, stopped by the cows and sheep stables, made a day trip to Port Said, participated in the common week circle and an interactive lecture on oriental and western music, relished the healthy rich food especially the “shurba” (soup) in the guest house and the canteen, enjoyed the lively conversations with staff and a group of young Muslim women at breakfast and dinner in the guest house, leaned back and truly relaxed while reading a book or walking on the farm. Just had a good time!
Wherever I was at the Sekem Farm, I met people telling me about Sekem and their own story in Sekem and joyfully showing me around. Actually, I have always valued the farmers, because they are the ones who physically work hard for our good healthy diet, as long as we compensate them for a good price and change our mentality of buying “as cheap as possible”.Sekem is unique and I am overwhelmed by the work done over the years and the efforts of the Abouleish family and of each of the many employees and supporters.
Definitely I will return to Germany with many new insights and inspiration.Sekem is an oasis of good will and heart, contributing to the common good for all in the right direction.
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