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Sustainability in Siwa: How This Farm Welcomes Wanderers Off the Grid

Haj Mulein is an intentional sustainable community where volunteers can come and get a feel for what it's like to live off the grid, and more importantly off the land.

Seven years ago, Samy Soliman and his friend Youssef Ramez decided to buy a land 12 KM East from Siwa and transformed it into an intentional sustainable community, introduced a new concept to living off the grid, and called it Haj Mulein. Over the years, they were joined by new partners who adopted this lifestyle, and together, they raised their children, grew a variety of plants, and lived as one big happy family.

"We do workshops, and we welcome volunteers all year long that help us with the farm and stay there," Soliman tells #SceneTraveller. "We're looking for interested families with kids up to 10 years old who would like to move there during winter 2023 and experiment living in a sustainable community, and experience living together sharing food and habitat."

So, what does sustainability stand for? An obvious question perhaps, but each person defines it in their own way. From Soliman's perspective, it's a movement. "I was living in Auroville in the south of India," Soliman says. "I have been interested in intentional communities around India. The idea is very dear to my heart. It's a very important model to exist in a time when people ask themselves about what is important to them."

Soliman explains that there are sociological aspects to sustainability as well. He doesn't just want families and youth, he also wants to gain wisdom from the elderly. 

Although the land is in the middle of the desert, Soliman and the group started planting palm and olive trees first, before moving on to grains like beans, as well as vegetables like potatoes, eggplants, carrots, and herbs. Haj Mulein had a large harvest last year with 120 people coming over to give them an extra hand. 

As for the animals on the land, there's a horse, a donkey, a few goats, chicken, and a dog. Apart from the domestic animals, there are snakes, beetles, lizards, owls, and eagles. Since Soliman and the group are not available throughout the entire year, they have people taking care of the animals on a daily basis. 

"The land is around 30 acres so I can easily imagine seven to eight families living there happily and raising their kids and learning together. From my experience of living in different communities and farms that offer volunteering experiences,” Soliman says. “A lot of people are looking for that. It's very hectic in the city, so you don't get the time to think about what to do with your life." Looking over this idyllic stretch of land, we can easily believe that an escape to clear your head at Haj Mulein might give you a chance to do just that. 

The farm accepts volunteers to come over at any time of the year. To pitch in with your time and keep your hands busy, DM them through their Instagram page at @hajmoulein_siwa.