This garden is a series of small and beautifully-tended interconnecting walled orchards in Wadi Zuweitin (valley of olive trees). Although struggling for water the garden has at least 80 trees, including almond, apricot, fig, plum, apple, vines, pear, walnut and pomegranate. The gardens in this wadi are hundreds of years old, as this area once had plenty of water.
The water table in the valley has sunk and there is insufficient depth of water in the well to enable the owner, Amria, to plant new trees when her old ones die. In addition, the sides of the well are loose and unsafe for Amria, who works in the garden on her own. Since she has a family to support, Amria has not been able to repair her well.
Amria is an unusually fit 55 year old who works full-time in her garden, which she loves passionately. She is greatly respected in the community for her warm heart and energy. She supports an invalid husband, two sons and five daughters. In all 16 individuals benefit from the produce of the gardens.
The well has been made deeper and wider, the sides repaired and a strong safety fence built around the top. Working with her son and the well-diggers Amria was able to use her donkey to gather the necessary stones and sand from the surrounding area. The garden now has sufficient water and Amria has been able to plant six new olive trees and grapevines.
A 12m dam on Amria’s land above Wadi Zuweitin has recently been constructed out of local stone. This dam, which was built by a group of friends from the UK and Ireland along with the Bedouin garden owners, will greatly benefit the dozens of good gardens that lie below it.
The well has been sponsored by three friends, two of whom have already been out to visit the garden and meet Amria, much to her delight. A growing friendship between the women has been established.