Newsletter June

Dear friends,

spring is turning to summer in these days and once again we send you news and our best wishes from Jinwar.
In the end of may one week of Jineoloji Camp took place in Jinwar. More than 30 young women from different cities and villages of the Cizire Kanton came here to join the camp and it was an intense and beautiful time. Four women of the Jinwar committee joined the camp as well and we were all busy with preparations. The young women organized educations on different fields of Jineoloji such as womens history, ethics and aesthetics, hevjiyana azad (relationships in a free live), knowledge on womens body/anatomy and so on. Furthermore there were a lot of practical workshops and common activities such as self-defense training (Taekwando and WingChun), making Kerpîç-mudbricks for Jinwar, painting, learning how to drive car and motorcycle, gardening work, visiting historical places, riding horses, making music and theater, dancing, playing volleyball and so on. For the camp we had prepared three houses which were thus inhabited for the first time by the young women. Sitting outside on the roof of the communal kitchen in the evening, seeing the lights and hearing the voices in the houses, was a very special feeling. For the first time so many women stayed not only during the day but as well in the night together in Jinwar. They all brought a lot of live and creativity to the village and it is beautiful to see how Jinwar is growing by every woman who spends time here and gives energy into the village.

In the last days (as you might have seen on our kurdish or english facebook pages) we spent time on making “Hermel” together with women from neighbor villages. The Hermel herb grows in large amounts on the many hills you find all around Rojava and the time of picking its seed capsules has come. The Hermel has been used as medical plant in many middle eastern regions and here you will find it in form of beautiful artifacts in many old houses. Women used to create this artifact out of the Hermel’s seed capsules and placed it on the wall, often above the door. It is being said that the Hermel protects the house from the evil eye, it brings fortune and fertility. In many cases the Hermel served as calendar as well: for every moon phase there is one row of pearls (which are the seed capsules) and the amount of pearls on each row reflects the days of the month. The Hermel plant has as well been burned in and around the house, for health, protection and in order to keep insects away.

In the last months there has been a lot of progress regarding the construction process in Jinwar. Still there is a lot of work ahead. In march we started the Kerpîç works again. As last year we are preparing the bricks for the houses in an ecological way, from a mixture of earth, straw and water. Nine houses are still to be built, furthermore the school, the academy and the small health center. Right now we are working on four houses and the academy. The academy has a round shape, it will have two floors and will include a wide room for educations and assemblies as well as a little library. Once finished it will be space for the exchange of knowledge on different fields of Jineoloji, forming important columns of Jinwar at the same time. There will be education on ecology, history, economy, gender relations in society, as well as practical seminars on gardening, keeping animals in a sustainable way, reading and writing, medicine and so further. There is as well the proposal to arrange seminars for men on womens liberation and the role men should take in this process. On the orchard, between the apricot trees, the foundation of the natural health center has been finished as well. It will be built in the upcoming months. Next to the entrance door of the village we have built a small round house. It will become storage place and little shop for fresh and dried vegetables, yogurt and other products of the village. A culture of round houses can mainly be found in the region of Kobanê, where they have been part of the regional Kerpîç tradition for a long time. Building the round house has been an experiment and in the upcoming months we plan to construct as well the school as a compilation of round houses as classrooms. Next to the academy we have built a big water pool – for swimming and for watering the garden. Besides that we are working on a place for sheeps and goats next to the fields. The general canalization system is finished and its pipes can now be connected to the sewage pipes of all houses. And, finally, a second well has been digged and is almost finished. Water was still a problem in the village, but now we will hopefully have enough water for all houses and the garden.

The plants in the garden are growing well – despite the unusual weather conditions. There was few rain in winter and in the beginning of spring. Instead we had a lot of heavy rain in may, which was quite unusual for the region. Some amount of wheat and lentils grown by farmers all around has been crushed by the late rain, but still many crops could recover and are being harvested in these days. We harvested the barley we planted in winter as well and despite the difficult climate this year the harvest was still good. The seedlings we were preparing in a little greenhouse in spring were growing and we planted them all. Now we have aubergines, paprika, tomato, bamya, beens, watermelon, melon, cucumber, onions, garlic and several other vegetables in the garden. For watering the garden we digged a system of channels and in these days we are harvesting garlic, zucchini, cucumbers and green beans. The shared work in the garden became part of our everyday life. Eating the fresh vegetables together and sharing them with guests and neighbors is wonderful and one step towards the communal self sufficiency we are aiming to achieve in Jinwar. Another pillar of communal economy is bread. In Jinwar we have built a bakery and a Tenur oven (typical round oven made of clay). The idea is to bake the bread for Jinwar, but as well for the villages around. Even if the culture of shared Tenur ovens in neighborhoods as a part of communal economies is still present, many people stopped baking bread on their own, buying it instead from the little bread factories in the city. Thus, many villagers were happy about a bakery being built in Jinwar.

For all works many families and groups of women and men are coming to help. Most of them come from the villages around, others from far away, having fled from Raqqa or Shedade years ago. We became neighbors and friends and apart from the work in Jinwar we are visiting and supporting each other on a daily base.

In the last weeks we had a lot of guests, not only from the region but as well from abroad – several women groups, activists, delegations, journalists visiting Jinwar. We are thankful for all support and exchange. We hope to make all these connections deeper and we are sure that we will build something out of this together.

As the basic infrastructure of the village is almost finished, the women who are clear in their decision to live in Jinwar will step by step move in. In the next weeks a lot of meetings with interested women will take place and still the village is open for women who would like to live a communal life with other women and children, who want to be part of a communal economy and participate in the garden, academy, school, natural health center or bring other ideas. It is going to be an exciting time.

Actual pictures of the village you can find on our kurdish and english facebook pages as well as on the Jinwar website.

Spread the word about Jinwar, support the village, send us your questions, ideas and reflections!

All the best,

the Committee of JINWAR