One way to connect was gardening. It was a simple subject to grow and then revisit during the months that were piled over each other. Tim one of our neighbors, who we didn’t know prior to lockdown, gave our daughter an (distanced) handful of fuchsia blossoms after she had pointed to them and said they were pretty. In the next few weeks, the exchange of courgette flowers and Sweet Williams was completed, and we now have two friends, as well as an attractive garden.
What’s going to happen in this particular garden? Gardens are being planted across the globe’s backyards or balconies, as well as urban walls. Will they, like other sporadic pursuits in response to news events, be discarded? What happens to the birds, who are in unison in their loud, eerie singing? What happens to the lettuce growing on my kitchen window, and the tomatoes that are on the balcony or my Sweet Williams in the garden as the world is awakening and the office lights are turning back on? It is only possible to concentrate on only one thing at a.
The proprietor of the Belfast garden centre is preparing his shop to open after the lockdown.
The gardens we frantically developed, and then may have to abandon remind me of gardens I have planted during periods of wait. Over the last couple of years, I’ve been speaking with Syrian refugee families about their experiences with displacement. One thing that has struck me most is the general habit of gardening.
At the Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan, in which I’ve conducted my most extensive studies, tiny plants made up of ” muknisit al janna” (a tumbleweed) appear everywhere. Seeds were planted with the hope of establishing small Persian cucumbers. I’ve seen a keenness to work the land, which is generative by it. Gardens require this kind of willingness to nurture the ground to allow it to grow.
The desire to plant gardens at refugee camps is widespread that UN has launched an educational program in hydroponics that has educated more than 600 people. I think that about three-quarters of refugee houses in tents or caravans I visited had tiny gardens erected next to the caravans and tents. These gardens show that the home’s space isn’t just limited to the standardized dwellings constructed from sheet metal, which the refugees are given, and not only to the ground upon which the house is situated.
A muknisit Al Janna bush also referred to as Bassia Scorporia that is growing in front of the tent at Zaatari Refugee Camp, Jordan 2019. The writer of the photo.
It is a remarkable accomplishment in Jordan, where the existence of a park is impressive in and of itself. Jordan is an arid desert area and refugee camps are situated in its fringes upon abandoned olive groves (as at Zaatari) or on explicitly designated “desert” lands (as in Azraq which is another refugee camp located in Jordan). It’s quite shocking to see a garden in the desert, but it is it is a unique experience to discover a few of them in refugee camps because water, as with many other natural resources is in short supply and is rationed. In reality, the strain of the refugee community’s living on Jordan is very evident by the strains placed on its already strained water resources -which is an issue that is rife in its personal history of political repercussions.
When I inquired about refugees’ improvised (and frequently unlawful) garden, their pride colored their answers. One Syrian refugee who I remember often has planted a tree of peaches out of a pit peach that was given from a worker for relief her first day in camps. She did it regardless of the consequences that this planting carried: of a desire to stay for a while. While the refugees “waits”, as Valerie Luseilli describes it in her novel of the same name, which was recently praised Lost Children Archive but they also come across peaceful, practical, and effective methods of recording the time while waiting. Their gardens are a good example by measuring time using the slow and timer that is seasonal.
When I made my last trip at Zaatari I was informed that I could not be able to talk to refugees about their earlier times (“it’s hard” stated one of the officers in uniform) or about the future (“it’s too difficult” the official repeated). I was then left with the present issue to address. I could have asked about the present only if it was present and future without the past and when or if.