Serenity. The idea of it seems illusory or non-existent in the chaotic, urban jungle many of us live in. But in essence, serenity can be found in pure simplicity – simplicity of surroundings, of emotion, and of thought. It is to find authenticity, mindfulness and purity amid the noise and distraction.
Inside the heart of Sinai are many stories of people and places that have come together to build new homes, memories, and spaces of serenity. Justina Abdalla’s story is one of them.
Half Dutch and Egyptian, Justina came to Nuweiba a year ago initially for a short holiday, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, plans were turned completely upside down. In just one year, she landed in an abandoned camp (Makati) where she also met Omar, her current husband, which is now repaired and is in transition to a different name: Meraki.
“In the beginning it was challenging, because everything was old and broken,” Justina shares. “We lived for many months without water from the tap (only drinking water) and with our basic needs barely met. But slowly, we started to repair, rebuild and re-use everything we could.”
Together, the couple built a new water tank, repaired the ceilings and the huts, and after months of rigorous hard work and reparation, they were finally ready to open. The next chapter was building a community. “The camp was ready, but who was there to enjoy it besides us and our dogs? AboZooz, a good friend from Sudan came to join and work with us, and Doro (a good friend we met in St. Catherine). Then there came many friends to visit us from Holland, and in this time we just felt so rich. Every morning during our sharing we just bathed in joy and bliss, being so grateful to be surrounded by such amazing beings in such a warm community,” Justina says.
“Many of the friends left but will soon come back again. We feel so optimistic and grateful to continue our journey and to keep creating our life with passion and love, to put a piece of ourselves in our work, which is the meaning of Meraki.”
Not only is it a place for bonding, serenity, and peace of mind, but also supporting the local Bedouin community and sustainability. “We want to work a lot with natural materials and find our inspiration in the sand and in the sea. Also, there will be workshops on how to do macramé, Bedouin crafts and other art.”
Below is a collection of photos of Justina’s journey in creating her very own space: Makati Camp.