Firyal Al Sa'di
Canaan Fair Trade Member of Women Coop from Jalameh Village
A DAILY PRAYER
Firyal Al Sa’di repeats a daily prayer every morning, “give us the strength of vision, heart, and mind for as long as we live” because according to her a person can only measure his or her wealth from within. She is a great example of her own prayer. Rich from within with her warm hands and generous heart she makes hot bread, fresh yogurt, and Za'atar (wild thyme mix). Firyal’s home is only a few blocks from the main checkpoint that separates the district of Jenin from the neighboring villages of Muqableh and Nazareth.
Originally from the city of Jenin, Firyal moved to Jalameh when she married her husband, Qassim, who grows cucumbers in a greenhouse next to their home. Across from the greenhouse is a small building where Firyal and the other women from Canaan Fair Trade’s Jalameh women coop come together and make Za'atar starting with the process of hand crushing the dried leaves and then mixing them with wild sumac, olive oil, and roasted sesame seeds. Firyal does not like her picture taken but she likes to describe the beauty of images surrounding the making of Za'atar.
GENTLE HANDS AND GENTLE SEEDS
Along with six other women she threshes the sesame seeds and carefully picks the unwanted ones so she can begin to roast them at the perfect temperature. “Roasting sesame seeds requires a great deal of attention. You have to keep an eye on how high the heat is but you also have to be really fast in your hand movement so you do not burn the gentle seeds.”
Gentle is perhaps the best way to describe this delicate process of mixing light crushed leaves that tend to want to fly away before Firyal adds a cup of olive oil to make them settle in the mixing bucket. A mixture of natural colors makes this healthy delight irresistible. “Whoever will taste our Za'atar will love it for sure. One can eat it with peace of mind because we know exactly what goes into it.”
ZA'ATAR MAKES YOU SMARTER!
A common popular saying in Palestine is that Za'atar makes you smarter and that is why Firyal, like most Palestinian mothers, includes in her kids school snack bag at least one small sandwich of her handmade Za'atar and olive oil.