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Young Kuwaiti author turns to gardening

Tarabya in her garden
Tarabya in her garden

“When life disappoints you, a tomato will never get you down,” is the mantra of Tarabya Al-Eidan, author of the book ‘Herbal Healing’, who found peace and mental well-being from gardening.

Eidan is not a trained gardener but she first fell in love with nature when she climbed a tree near her family’s house. She later turned to gardening after being inspired by a school assignment to plant flower seeds, watch how they grow and then write a report. But with her busy schedule of homework and playing videogames with her brother, the afterschool hours were not the best time to indulge in gardening and all things nature.

However, Eidan is now an astute gardener, who in her spare time likes to cook contemporary cuisine, clean the house, ride her bike and do yoga on the weekends.”The idea of my book took seed two years ago, but I only started to write the book last year. When someone hears about ‘herbal healing’, they think it is about medicine, but actually I played with the words. The book is about how gardening helped me find healing,” Eidan said.

Eidan, who holds a BSc in Chemistry (with a minor in English Literature) from Kuwait University, learned how to garden in elementary school, when the teacher gave an assignment to plant some flowers and record their progress. “After being away from gardening for a long time, I began this hobby again when we moved to our new home. I did some gardening and started growing plants such as potato, cotton, tomato, mint, rosemary and others,” she said. Eidan developed her knowledge from social media and learned more about seeds. And this was her way of burying her doubts, fears and sadness into the ground.

Eidan told Kuwait Times that being outdoors most of the time is a lot of fun and helped her get some fresh air and her hands dirty with the soil, which made her feel amazing. She added that the weather of Kuwait is a challenge,”but when someone cares about something, they can do it right and it will grow properly”. “I learned from my grandmother about mistakes she made when mixing up seeds and growing plants randomly, as I know that it should be organized,” she said. Eidan wrote “Herbal Healing” in a year. It sums up her experience with gardening over the course of five years. Ultimately, it’s about her journey in finding mental wellbeing through the joys of gardening and being in touch with nature.”With the potatoes I dug up yesterday, I was able to enjoy the most delicious breakfast ever. I roasted them in the oven along with rosemary – also from my garden – and ended up having them with a side of eggs – with oregano from my garden too – and the first tomato of the season. I only got one edible tomato along with tons of potatoes, but that’s just fine because I love potatoes more anyway,” she said.

She expresses her joy in cooking what she plants.”It was really inspirational to witness that tiny plant making its way through a crack of concrete and carry on with its existence. If not for its survival within the rigid sidewalk, maybe I would never have had the strength to carry on myself,” Eidan writes in her book.

By Faten Omar

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