The village never fails to teach us something new – in every visit. This time Ammi Jee was making Peerhis (sorry don’t have any idea what they call it in English, or even IF the English dictionary has any equivalent word). And of course the girls had to participate, along with their father. I wish my children will finally learn such useful handwork and others will also look into reviving handy handwork.
Category Archives: Village Ventures
Our village is a safe haven in the increasingly galmorous world of today. There is much to get inspiration from and much to learn from its simple inhabitants, who are apparently backward and not highly educated but actually are very wise people!
A few of the light-hearted inspirations I acquired are:
- You are considered late if you have not already prayed Salah when the men return from the masjid (and the masjid is just adjacent to the house).
- You are an inept mother if your child is one year old and is still in diapers!
- You are a laughing stock if you are ‘afraid’ of the cattle.
- You are abnormal if the presence of ‘innocent’ lizards and frogs in your bedroom is not ‘normal’ for you!
- You are considered weak if you feel too cold without a heating mechanism in chilling winter, or too hot without any air-conditioning or even electricity in bubbling summer!
- You are ill-mannered if you don’t inquire about an elder’s health at least three times in a conversation! (It is respectful of keep repeating the same question in different ways or even in the exact same words).
- You are considered arrogant if you don’t (visually or verbally) greet someone on the way, regardless of how far they are from your vehicle.
- You are useless if you can’t start fire out of wood (get ready for sleeping on a hungry stomach otherwise:)
- You are tactless if you can’t make wudu with a ‘lota’, which is a very tactful task!
- You are unproductive if you can’t work in the fields and cut firewood with an axe.
- You are a learned lady if you can speak Urdu.
- You are almost equal to a scholar if you can read, write and teach.
- You are considered unskilled if you can’t stitch your own clothes and wasteful if you use a tailor!
- You are unpractical if you can’t tell the time of the day without looking at a clock!
- You are a fool if you don’t know how to judge directions (east, west, north, south).
- Your time management is poor if your husband’s breakfast is not almost ready when he returns from masjid after Fajr Salah! (Don’t imagine a five-point stove while reading this, but a single fire made out of wood).
- You are not modest enough if your hair shows even while among women only.
- You don’t know your manners if you walk in front of an elder, or sit at the ‘upper’ side of the bed / charpai..
- You are rich if you have a cement house and a car!
But the catch is that, you can have all the mentioned faults and the people may still love you and respect you! That’s how our village is!!
Dedicated to Ammi Jee and Abbu Jee – my amazing parents-in-law.
(by Haadiyah Sajid, 10 years)
Bright and early on 17 December, we set off for a family hike to a “very far place”. Very far indeed! And I’m telling you, 13 kilometers is no joke. It was a ‘family hike’ because my mom, my dad, my grandfather and grandmother, and in addition my 2 sisters Aymun ‘n’ Hanaa were all going – plus Hanaa’s toy cat, Rocket, in Hanaa’s hoodie! 😀 (Just so you know, it’s impossible to find Hanaa Sajid anywhere without that toy.)
It was very exciting at first – with Abu Jee (our grandfather) telling different facts and Ammi Jee (grandmother) telling stories from her experiences. My favorite was when Abu Jee sent her in a hot summer day to these faraway fields with a cow so that it could graze well, but she got scared and then angry owing to the totally deserted fields and came back, no grazing!
As we started out and crossed a bare (but full of soil) field in front of our Bubbo’s (Aunt’s) house, we discovered a narrow path in the middle of vast fields. Wheat fields were all you could see on both sides of this path; no people, animals, or even homes, let alone shops, trucks or roads! Presently in the fields there was the very young wheat. At this time it is dark green and just a few inches tall. Lots of dew on countless green, tiny wheat plants plus a shiny sun made the scenery so beautiful SubhanAllah! We also passed some peanut fields, but they were mostly harvested. In yet other fields mustard, and black peas grew. Often you could spot very beautiful spider webs shining with dew. They were very different kind of webs because they were so dense, looking very white! There was a wild berry tree on the way, from which Abbu Jee plucked some berries and offered us. I dared to try, but not many, in fact not even one whole!
Oh, anyways, as the way got longer and looonnnggerr, we got more and more tired and started feeling hot. Off went my coat and mittens. It was still very exciting though – Ammi Jee showed us a straight flat path in one of the peanut fields, where mice had been crossing. Our dad even spotted a pack of wolves, that took cover quickly on seeing us. The path we were walking on was also used by wolves. Plus, Ammi Jee pointed out a dig-out made by a wolf, scary! A strange lonely man had made up his abode under a tree in that wilderness – quite odd but true. Then I nearly got ants in my joggers and we still had quite a while to go!!
When we were almost there – erm, actually we never knew where we were going 😀 – but when we were almost ‘there’ the scenery changed. Going down a pretty steep worn-out path, we saw lots of bushes of saffron colored grasses, that looked dead but actually weren’t! Even if they were, Allah would bring them back to life as He says that He brings the earth back to life, after its death. In winter, everything looks bare – a tree which used to be dense with flowers and leaves becomes leafless. But Allah brings it back to life in spring. I just don’t understand how disbelievers watch a tree grow its first leaf buds in spring and then simply deny the Day of Resurrection – let alone any Creator! Astaghfirullah!
So, gotten down from a steep narrow path, we reached a stream! A lot of our tiredness evaporated. We threw rocks, washed our hands, collected some nice stripy rocks and washed them in the cool stream and took pictures on a natural bridge over the stream. There were also little water-holes near the stream, from which people can drink water.
After that Abu Jee, who was astonishingly not tired Masha’Allah, said that we could rest for a while and that he was going from a longer path to check on his other fields. Now Ammi Jee was supposed to lead us back home through a shortcut. But first she collected some ‘sarsoon ka saag’ from one of our fields there while we stretched our legs a little. By now, Hanaa (4 years only) was very tired – not her fault! So with Hanaa on Baba’s back and Ammi Jee in the lead, we walked back home. Abu Jee met us on the way and our Bubbo greeted us again on the way back and enquired about our trip. By then, Abu Jee had already reached home (my grandfather is a fast walker) and had a chataai (a type of woven rug) especially spread out for us. He also picked some fresh organic oranges right from our very own backyard. We were really refreshed with that little treat. And now it was time to tell Mama how much we had walked – you know, if you told her in the way she’d faint –
IT’S 13 KILOMETERS, MAMA!!
By Aymun Sajid (9 yrs)
I am a villager. At least I say so. And think so. That’s because I’m ready for the ups & downs of the village. Rough feet. Tough hands.
Welcome to the knowledge of one of our favorite village hobbies: “Hiking the hills”
On a cool morning of December, I went with my grandfather, father and two sisters to the hiking trip. We first went around most of the village fields, in which wheat was sprouting presenting a miracle of Allah. Then the excitement started. The first task to tackle was walking through the long grass. It felt like if you were in a lion territory – no dangerous things living around though! There are snake-holes but you almost never see snakes outside. But you can expect to get a glimpse of a chameleon, a squirrel, a hoopoe or a woodpecker and some other birds you never see in the city.
The next part was the start of hiking. We climbed over a… um, a hillock (shorter than a real sized hill). It was all very rocky. We even had to use our hands to avoid stumbling down! My little sister did very well, even though she is four. On top of the hillock, there was hardly any good dirt for plants to grow but Subhan Allah, there were still some amazing spiky plants growing there!
After that, since we were new to the area, we just kept on following our grandfather. We went over many rocks and hillocks and walked around many thorny bushes & we didn’t know where we were going until we saw it – a huge pond! We had walked about 1 kilometer now, but we were too stunned to be tired. It was full of water. Our grandfather told us that where we were standing, there used to be water there too. My father said that when he was little, many people used to come to this pond for swimming and making their cattle drink from the pond. And in the morning hours, women used to come in groups to wash clothes. Sometimes there little children also used to accompany themJ. When water was scarce people used the pond water as drinking water too.
My grandfather told us that the water used to pile up leaves & grass at the bottom of tree trunks & even showed us some leaves that were piled around the trunks of some trees. We climbed a huge rock & then right after the slope was a pool of water in which we threw pebbles. Then I started to follow my grandfather through the long grass & my father & sisters followed not far behind. Then my grandfather showed me a huge rock which looked somehow like an elephant and told me that I could climb it. I climbed up the rock & my sisters also came from behind. After getting down from the rock, we noticed that we couldn’t see our grandfather and which way he went. My father called out to my grandfather asking which way he went. (It might seem strange to you but that’s the village way of communicating from far). We heard the faint reply and then we started following my father instead. Then after walking for a bit through the long grassy zigzag path, we came to some familiar fields. Then I and my sisters realized that we were back to where we had started from!
I learned a lot that day. My little sister said her favorite part was the pond. My older sister said that her favorite part was the thrill of climbing steep and slippery rocks, using your intelligence to judge where to step while climbing and getting lost and finding the way ourselves! :P. I cannot tell my favorite part. It was all too thrilling to tell!
When at home a toddler can learn at leisure, without pressure and with absolute pleasure, WHY do the parents become so cruel and send them off to school at such a tender age? Here are some glimpses of my toddler learning at home. I hope I could post a couple of videos but still have to figure out a way to do that.
Alhamdulillah , when thegirls became interested in hiking, we didn’t have to take the usual route to Margalla Hills – we had a ‘customized solution’ at the village. The girls practiced hiking skills early in winter mornings at the natural hiking terrain in the village.
By Aymun Sajid – 8 year old homeschooler (This article was published in HomeWorks Magazine – a Muslim Home Education Quarterly)
People find homeschooling strange but I really like it. First I didn’t want to read and write, but slowly I began to like it. Nowadays you’ll find my nose buried in books. I don’t only learn from books, but also from people. For example, in village my grandmother tells me how to clean the wheat grains, feed and milk the cow, how to chop the wood and make fire. She taught me to cut the wheat by hand and I did it this harvesting! From my grandfather, I learn about sowing, threshing and how rains affect the wheat. My chachoo (Uncle) shows me how to cut the wheat by tractor and make scarecrows! He sometimes gives me tractor rides while he is plowing and I always watch carefully. Sometimes I even pretend to drive a tractor. I like to wake up early in village, before my dad makes the fajr adhan, so that I don’t miss all the early morning work. For me, work is fun.
Our helper aunty knows a lot about plants and is a an exclusive gardener. I learn gardening from her. I also explore insects and plants in my garden. I love to cook with my nani and bake with my mom’s best friend. She even makes pizzas. Now I invent my own recipes. Our kitchen is not only used for cooking but it’s also our science lab. I like to do science experiments there. I presented some experiments with my elder sister in our presentation club.
In my study time, I like to write, read and draw. I listen to Islamic lectures and watch science and Arabic videos. I like to start my day with Quran (which I read with translation) and then I do mental math on computer, then other subjects. I take spoken Arabic classes and horse-riding lessons as well. I have friends at these places, in neighbors and in other homeschooling families.
We like to visit many different places, like hill-stations and rivers. My dad always says to look and learn. He talks about every place. When we go for Umrah, my dad tells us interesting facts about people and places.
The thing I like most about homeschooling is that I can teach my mother about animals! I like that I can ask anything, I can learn about any topic. I think homeschooling keeps my faith strong and keeps me away from bad things. Think about a three year old being sent to school. Being away from mom so long! And in the end schooling destroys her creativity. I hope after reading my article, you understand homeschooling better!
Aymun Sajid is a nature loving, book passionate, villager cum townie, Islooite homeschooler.