Time for Thyme

Report
from American Near East Refugee Aid
Published on 09 Aug 2011 View Original

Not very long ago, Latifa Jaber, a land owner from JinSafut, could barely provide for her four children. The land she had inherited from her deceased husband needed continuous care and, most importantly, water, which she couldn’t always afford.

“I used to get a small-sized tanker for 40 shekels ($11.50) to water the thyme, but I would usually finish all the water in just one day. Considering my monthly income of 200 to 300 shekels ($57 to $86), it’s quite burdensome.”

A new cistern and thyme seedlings have brought hope back to her life. As part of ANERA’s Incubation of Small Agribusiness Enterprises program, Latifa has a newly-constructed cistern to collect rainwater. She also will receive technical training on new farming and marketing methods plus periodical visits and consultations by agricultural experts.

In Qalqilia and Ramallah districts, 40 households should benefit from the $75,000 program, which will provide 22 farmers with new cisterns for harvesting rain water. It will also help 18 others to develop their thyme and tomato growing techniques under rain-fed conditions with supplementary irrigation.

The Jeensafut Village Council and Charitable Society have all partnered with ANERA to reach out to the farmers. The program helps the farmers develop and improve their produce and market them more effectively.

The program is expected to enhance the farmers’ capacity and increase their income by 40%. Farmers already have received thyme and tomato seedlings, compost, irrigation networks and organic pesticides to get them started.

Latifa lost her husband five years ago but she has always been the breadwinner of the family. Her husband suffered from depression and other psychological problems, which deterred him from working and taking care of his kids and wife.

Latifa juggles three jobs and her role as the sole parent in order to provide a decent future for her kids. She is excited about the program and the training and is ready to learn new things, and pass them along to her kids. Yazan, her eldest kid, used to sell lupine beans at school and weddings to provide a daily allowance for himself and his younger brother. He is now 17 and helps Latifa farm the land.

“I save every shekel to get the essentials for my children, and it’s barely enough. I don’t have money to buy thyme seedings and develop the land, and ANERA got it for us for free and is helping us out,” Latifa explains.

Looking at her new thyme shoots with pride, she says: “A handful of soil equals this entire world.”

American Near East Refugee Aid:
To learn more about ANERA, please visit http://www.anera.org/.