There is quite some construction going on in the desert in Wahat! After the so-called “mountain house” was completely finished and furnished at the end of last year, various construction works are currently underway to create more space for living and working on the Wahat Farm. Three small houses, located next to pivots have been upgraded with more space as well as water and electricity for living. The new cafeteria, also built of rammed earth, is already in place and the morning circle now takes place in front of it every day. Many of the staff must have been very cold during the ceremony this winter, because the cold season was and is particularly hard this time: Hoarfrost, hail and lots of rain were recorded in the western desert.
This year there was frost in the desert.
In the meantime, also the drying area for herbs offers more space now; its size has been doubled from approx. 8,000 square metres to approx. 16,000 square metres. In addition, a wall was built to protect the drying area from road dust. Among other things, hibiscus flowers are dried there – the last harvest on the former desert land was very good. Hibiscus tea hot or cold, called Karkadé in Egypt, is a very famous drink. In addition to hibiscus, chamomile, peppermint, thyme, marjoram, and lemongrass are also handled in the drying houses.
Recently the Wahat community started to bake their own bread.
Growth did also take place in the solar power plants and among the trees: six new photovoltaic plants have been put into operation and the “Western Forest” did increase by 40,000 new trees. Besides, the composting site was put into operation last August and has already produced 4000 tons of compost, which is used for winter cultivation. Another 3000 tons are currently in the making.
A recreation area has been established including a cineama for the co-worker.
A special valuable new feature for the people is a recreation area, where they can rest, relax and exchange ideas or even watch a film on the screen. Cinema feeling in the middle of the desert! And another highlight for the Wahat community was the installation of an oven on the farm – now they can bake their own bread!
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There is probably no other place in Egypt where so much is developing in such a short time as in Wahat! Not only the fields are growing more and more, but also the community is expanding and consequently the premises are growing as well. Even the bee colonies are to grow soon, as a test phase has shown that the first colonies brought to Wahat have done well under the climatic conditions here.
Cotton, peanuts, jojoba and dates have already been harvested this late summer and fall. The hibiscus, which is currently being harvested, grew excellently – its capsules are picked on the mother farm near Cairo, as there are not yet enough workers for this in Wahat. The basil as well as the lemongrass could already be cut a few times. A big help for the lemongrass harvest was the new “full harvest machine” that had just arrived.
In the past, it often happened that the biodynamic products grew very well, but the machines were too weak for the large areas. Therefore, the community is very thankful for the new equipment from Germany, thanks to which the agricultural power could be increased enormously. Among the new acquisitions is also a machine for chamomile harvesting. Throughout November, chamomile was sown on virtually every available spot: four pivots now irrigate about 200 feddan of chamomile.
To the west of the farm, a “forest strip” is being created, for which some 35,000-40,000 trees have already been planted. They grow very well and serve as protection against pesticide drift and against wind.
A fascinating project is also the first house made of rammed earth in Wahat, which was completed some time ago – it is made exclusively of sustainable materials, is perched on a mountain near the farm, and does not need an external power source thanks to solar panels. The innovative design ensures that the house is cooled in summer and heated in winter. The three bedrooms, eat-in kitchen, and meeting room are now being tested in living. The view is as impressive as the building itself.
Two more buildings are now being constructed in the same style in a semicircle, because with so much growth there is naturally an enormous amount of work to be done, so more and more employees are coming to Wahat. One building will house a large new cafeteria, a meeting room and a laboratory. The second building, which will be built back-to-back behind the other, will serve as a staff house. In addition, a mosque will find its place here. Thus, a large area for living, eating and living will be created. In the future, the morning circle will also take place in front of this new complex. The old building complex will remain as living space for families and interns. The first walls have already been built, but are still being covered to protect them from drying out too quickly under the desert sun.
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