دار جان : الخروج من العاصمة لنويبع // Meet "Dar Jan"; on getting out of from the Capital to Nuweiba


Photo credits: left “Cairo” by Dan, licenced CC-BY-SA; right “Nuweiba port in 2007” by Shannon Hobbs, licenced CC-BY-SA.


Available in: :gb: English / :ar: Arabic

:gb: English version

Cairo is one of the most growing cities in the world; it is growing rapidly one can’t define its borders. It is one of the noisiest and most polluted cities as well. There are lots of stories in between its different layers, but this is not a story about Cairo, its about the ones who are escaping it building a new life outside.

Being the capital of a highly centralized country, Cairo is usually where most Egyptians migrate to in order to find work, studies, and different opportunities. However lately more people are trying to leave Cairo and experience another way of life in smaller settlements – in places like Dahab, Fayoum, Siwa, Nuweiba- Some are privileged enough to be able to leave and “walk away” showing the road to others who want to follow in their footsteps.

In this small video report (English translation is available) for example, two young people explain why they are living in Dahab. After obtaining their university degrees from Cairo they decided to leave the capital and go live in the small town of Dahab in southern Sinai. Dahab became lately an attraction point for young freelancers in Egypt, was mentioned several times during some discussions on the platform and is where @imake lived for a short while just before joining us in Sidi Kaouki. Also, @m_tantawy as I remember stayed there for short while as well.

In Nuweiba, a much more daring project is going on right now. It is called Dar Jan (House of Jan) where a couple decided to “quit the big city and corporate life and move to Neweibaa in the desert of Sinai between mountains and the sea” bought a piece of land to build and farm on. They are working hard in steady steps towards a healthier, calmer way of life.

On a quick call with the lovely couple, they explained a bit their journey and how they imagine their space as a space of sharing knowledge, productive space, a farm, an art and crafts space, space for local community engagement, and above all a home. As you can see it is kinda in line with the OpenVillage vision.

Choosing this life is a conscious decision, it is not an easy pathway as well, they are as well facing different challenges and need to attract genuine people who are interested in co-creation and meaningful collaboration.

Being remote is not easy, the small coastal town is facing different challenges as well, one of them that we touched upon during our call is the huge amounts of plastic waste, this is something that they see themselves that they can contribute back to the local community where they are staying. Still, it is not easy to build the “Precious Plastics” machines in a remote place without nearby fabrication machines (plus other problems that one usually face in daily life while being based in remote small town, some of us had some experience in this during our stay in Sidi Kaouki).

They are passionate about what they do, and want to share their knowledge and experience as well. They see the value of open source documenting of what they do so that their model could be easily replicated and updated, and are interested to join us here in Edgeryders to start their own wiki.

I am sure that a lot of people from the Edgeryders community would find this interesting and would love to contribute as well to Dar Jan, whether by doing toys form trash workshops (@HadeerGhareeb), to recycling and composting (@MonicaZacharia) to self sufficiency technology (@matthias) or by building from local materials (@m_tantawy) … etc…

I believe it is a good chance for collaboration in general and sharing it here makes sense as we are discussing repeatedly here different scenarios of walking away and building new economies or engaging with the status quotrying to change it (or “Exit vs. Voice” as @alberto describes it in this post).

:ar: Arabic version

تعتبر القاهرة واحدة من اكبر المدن نمواً فى العالم, وهى أيضاً واحدة من اكثرهم تلوثاً وصخابة, تخفى فى جعبتها الكثير من القصص ,لكن هذة ليست قصة عن القاهرة بل قصة عن الذين يهربون منها لبناء حياة جديدة خارجها.

كون مصر دولة مركزية جعل من القاهرة قبلة المهاجرين للبحث عن العمل أو الدراسة أو الفرص عموماً لكن فى الفترة الاخيرة تزايد عدد الخارجين منها للبحث عن سبل جديدة للعيش فى مدن أو تجمعات سكنية اصغر مثل الفيوم ودهب وسيوة ونويبع. البعض كان له من الحظ ما يكفى لكى يستطيع بالفعل الخروج منيرين الطريق للذين يرغبون فى اتباع خطواتهم.

نستطيع أن نرى مثال فى فى هذا التقرير المصور مع اثنين قاهرين تركا الحياة فى القاهرة وذهبا للعيش فى دهب بعد الحصول على شهادات جامعية من القاهرة. فى الفترة الاخيرة ,دهب اصبحت نقطة جذب للعديد من الشباب القاهري وتم ذكرها فى بعض النقاشات السابقة هنا

@imake جرب المعيشة هناك لفترة قصيرة قبل المجىء للعيش معنا فى سيدى كاوكى, ايضا @m_tantawy كان له تجربة معيشية هناك لفترة قصيرة على ما اذكر

على صعيد اخر فى ناحية اخرى من سيناء . فى نويبع ولد مشروع من اجراء المشاريع التى تحدث فى هذا المكان, مشروع “دار جان” حيث قرر زوجان ترك حياة المدينة والاستقالة من العمل بالقطاع الخاص لبدء حياة جديدة فى سيناء بين الجبال والبحر وقاما بشراء قطعة ارض للبناء والزراعة وهما يعملان بخطوات ثابتة تجاه حياة هادئة وصحية.

فى لقاء سريع عبر الانترنت تجدثنا سويا عن تصورهم للمشروع بحيث يكون مساحة لتبادل المعرفة ومساحة للفنون والاعمال اليدوية و للزراعة و للعمل التشاركي مع المجتمع المحيط و قبل كل شىء كونه بيت كما اسمه " دار جان"

كما هو واضح تصورات المشروع فى نفس سياق ما نطلق عليه القرية المفتوحة

اختيارهما لهذه الحياه هو اختيار واعي ولا يوجد طريق ممهد لمثل هذه الحياه, يواجهان طبعا العديد من التحديات ويريدان العمل مع أناس لديهم شغف بما يعملون ومع الراغبين فى التعاون الهادف

المعيشة فى مكان منعزل نسبياً ليست بالشىء الهين أيضاً. المدينة نفسها تواجهه العديد من التحديات, احد هذه التحديات مشكلة المخلفات البلاستيكية مثلها مثل الكثير من المدن الساحلية الصغيرة وهو شىء يمكنهما المشاركة فى حله ولكن ليس بالشىء السهل بناء ماكينات مثل ماكينات “البلاستيك النفيس” فى مكان منعزل وحدهما. طبعا هذا بجانب التحديات اليومية العادية التى تواجه القاطنين فى الاماكن الصغيرة البعيدة , مثل التحديات اليومية التى قابلها بعضنا فى سيدى كاوكى

هما يعملان بشغف حقيقى من اجل بناء حياتهما الجديدة ويعلمان اهمية مشاركة المعلومات بصورة حرة ومهتمان بتوثيق تجربتهما هنا

اعتقد انه يوجد العديد من الناس فى هذا المجتمع الافتراضى مهتمين بمشروع مثل هذا ويرغبون فى المساهمة سواءً عن طريق ورش عمل لصنع الالعاب من القمامة (هدير ) او باعادة التدوير وصناعة السماد العضوى( مونيكا ) او فى المشاركة فى بناء تكنولوجيا الاكتفاء الذاتى ( ماتياس ) او البناء بالمواد المحلية ( طنطاوي)

واعتقد انها فرصة جيدة للتعاون المشترك فى العموم حيث اننا دائما فى نقاش بين الخروج وبناء اقتصاديات جديدة و المواجهه والمشاركة الواعية فى النظام السائد كما يوضح ألبرتو فى هذا المقال


I see an opportunity for an exchange of views around this kind of lifestyle innovation. Eventually, we’ll graduate to wikis, collections of links and instructables – Sidi Kaouki already generated some. I see it as very important to keep making these links, because the feeling of community is critical to keep people going. These stories are isolated, and the Net is good at connecting them to each other. I really really want a proper residency program in The Reef. The new one.


[text-direction=rtl]صباح الخيرات, شكرا حازم علي التقديم السريع, التوثيق لاي تجربة و جعلها متاحة و مفتوحة المصدر هو هدف اساسي من اهدافنا, بالتبعية استخدام ال Wikis و الفيديو للتوثيق هيكون مهم جدا, يمكن منقدرش نعمل ده بشكل دائم لان احنا مجرد اتنين بنقوم بكافة الاعمال الزراعية و خلافه لكن قريب هيكون في متطوعين للغرض ده فقط " التوثيق"[/text-direction]


Ya @KhaledJ , what a great project. I was about to send you to ask about certain points, but since @hazem brought it here I think I can go ahead :smile:

I was wondering if you are using a standard technique in agriculture with modifications you invented? maybe using the technique that you found used by Bedouins and not yet documented? also do you cultivate new plants that were never planted in that place? and what kind of engagement with the local community do you have at first and now?

sorry for all these questions but I am so interested in the project and really want to know more about it.


Hello Khaled, and welcome to Edgeryders! Always happy to meet more people who see the attractions of rural living and want to “make it work” for others as well.

I have thought a lot about how best to document what works and what does not in village life, so that it will be most useful both for those escaping the cities and for locals living there since generations. The main difficulty for worldwide knowledge distribution is of course language, and then also education levels – to generalize a bit, older people who grew up in traditional farming rarely enjoy reading scientific works about water management or permaculture …

The best I could come up so far is a library of 500+ free digital e-books in English for the people coming with secondary education, plus a Stack Exchange style question-and-answers site for everyone else, with semi-automatic translation between languages. (That one is not yet started, but there is a Q&A module for our Discourse base software so I could start it within a day. So let me know if and when you intend to start your own documentation efforts here on edgeryders.eu and I’ll provide that.)

If you have other insights about what will work best for documentation, I’m interested to hear it of course.