Throughout 2020, Andalusia has seen high numbers of cases and fatalities from COVID-19, leading the government to impose several lockdowns, with some of the strictest conditions of anywhere in the world. The second, from mid-October to mid-December, was less strict, but it did prohibit people from leaving their towns except for essential reasons. As Azahara lies between the towns of Lanjaron and Orgiva, this effectively cut us off from most visitors.
However, it has turned out to be a truly special event. We’ve been blessed with four volunteers who’ve already been a huge help with ploughing, harvesting quinces, making quince jelly, and cleaning Azahara from top to bottom, beating out the carpets and dusting every corner. While many parts of the world have suffered from isolation, we’ve found an amazing kind of micro-community among our new friends.
It seems it’s also been a deeply personal process for our volunteers too, who have all been in transition from one life situation to another. Most are women seeking a meaningful next step in their lives, who wish to recover an instinctual connection with the earth and find more sustainable ways of living; Azahara has been something of a sanctuary for them. We’ll let one describe it for herself:
“As-salaamu ‘alaykum! Imagine a place in a world full of man-made chaos, where you can feel your every step and hear your every breath? Where goodness prevails and the opportunity to do good exists. Well, I’ve found this place in the mountains, in Azahara, a place to breathe and a place that facilitates workshops and ideas that bring growth not only to the land, but to the people too. Although a revert to Islam of 23 years, I feel that my inner journey is only just beginning.”
Although we know that lockdown will be ending soon, we also know that the future is unpredictable, and there may be more confinements. We pray that Azahara is host to many more volunteers, and to share this valuable reconnection to earth and soul with many more visitors too! You can volunteer your time by contacting us here!