Jawohl! The Black Forest Experience

Jaaaaaaaa! Jawohl! The Black Forest ‘Jaaaaa’ (Ja and jawohl are German terms for yes) is a slightly longer ja and harsher in tone invented in our Grafenhausen Workcamp while expereincing a different dialect of German in the region. These terms motivated us during the Workcamp as we were listening to these words a lot and then we ourselves started using them a lot, Jaaaaaaa, Jawohl! Similarly, we observed that pink color is brown in the Black Forest because we wanted to use some pink color in the playground but we were told that we can use brown instead ;). We also discovered Black Forest English, Black Forest Jokes, Black Forest Beauty and many more :). And work means really work in the Black Forest. “Arbeit ist süß und spaß (work is sweet and fun)”, they say in the Black Forest.

DSC_0224.JPGWe as international volunteers from IBG e.V. from Poland, Azerbaijan, Greece, Canada, Russia, Serbia, Italy, Germany and Pakistan helped the community in Grafenhausen, a small village in the Black Forest region of Germany with the implementation of the follwing projects:

1. Children Playground

We brought with us not only the motivation to work and have fun but also pleasant weather. And ofcourse, we were in good hands. The people were friendly and cooperative. It was great working together with the employees of the Fire Station during the construction of the playground at the sports field. Michael Lüber, the project manager was satisfied with the playground which gave us a lot of motivation. The 6 hours work per day was tiresome but the end result was beautiful and a memorable gift for the community in the form a beautiful playground. Jaaaaaaaaaaaa!

2. Forest Healing Place

The Black Forest is a beauty in itself and working in the forest were healing experiences for us. The forest healing places we helped to create between the peaceful majestic pine trees will definitley heal the bodies and souls of people seeking peace and rehabilitation. Jawohl Workcamp!

3. Barefoot Sensory Rock Spots

These bare foot sensory rock spots are supposed to be walked on with bare feet to feel the wood, stones, sand, etc. in the adventure trail or to simply have fun and get dirty. The hard work from the volunteers ended up in a healthy gift for the commnity. Despite the tiresome experience, we had a Jawohl happy result in the end ;).

4. Stump Steps

We used the wooden stumps, colored them in the Fire Station, loaded them on tractors, transported them to the Black Forest, fixed them in the ground with concrete and covered the empty spaces with small pieces of wooden dust. We were really fast and effective with the stump steps. The children of the region will definitley love our work. In future, when we get married and have our own kids, we can bring along to play here in the Black Forest Stump Steps. Isn’t it a jawohl thought? 😀

5. Stone Labyrinths

The best thing about our group was that we worked as a team and got involved with the community. Without a positive involvement, the accomplishment of such activities could not have been possible. Despite our differences of cultures and languages, we worked and lived as one family. Transporting, lifting and fixing heavy stones need enormous physical energy and the skillset to form the natural stone labyrinth art were expereinces to remember. We guarantee peace and tranquility in the nervous system when one walks barefoot on them. Jawohl for the volunteers for the hard work!

6. Wooden Restplaces

Black Forest is a place for hiking, swimming, adventure, romance and discovery. And if you are a little bit tired in Grafenhausen, please make use of the wooden restplaces that we helped to create in our workcamp and say louldly with love, Jawohl ;).

7. Cleaning the Park

Cleanliness is next to godliness and Grafenhasuen is very clean and orderly. We helped to clean not the liter from plastics or paper but the sticks falling from the trees in the small park. Jawohl for the cleanliness!

8. Chirping Birds Hearing Bench

We helped to create something really spiritual. Birds are very beautiful and precious beings. When you lay on one of the benchs we created in the Black Forest and hear the birds chirping at night or day and pay close attention, you will defintely fall in love with the universe and us 😉 . Jawohl!

Und Naturlich, die Späße!

For many of us, it was an opportunity to learn practical and social skills. There was no shortage of sociability in the group. We lived together, cooked together, danced, made music, sang, enjoyed the drinks, played games, chatted, hiked and discovered the culture in the village and surrounding. Despite the certain tiredness, meetings with the sports club and the fire brigade, a concert of the music club, the dance in the disco club, a tour of the Rothaus Brewery and action-packed hours in the Black Forest House of the Senses, the Tannenmühle Black Forest Cherry Cake, the beautiful old city Freiburg tour, the nice game in the Flohmarkt in Freiburg, the healing Blackforest Wutachschlucht Hike, etc. were some of the active leisure activities that made our Workcamp more lively. We had great fun!

Most importantly, we made friends for life. Jaaaaaaaaaa! Jawohl!

About the Author


Muhammad Ali was the co-camp leader in this IBG02 Grafenhuasen Workcamp (07.04.18-21.04.18). He is currently based in Marl Germany and works as a Terminplanar (Scheduler) at CEPT GmbH, a project management firm in Dorsten. His interests include volunteer work, blogging and cycling. He can be reached at muhammadali.shupun@gmail.com


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