…Nevertheless, undeterred, I was guided to the community of Bedouins I would meet a kilometer ahead in the midst of the desert, maybe if in old times there would be an oasis of green pastures and water and a relief from the harsh conditions that existed. Miniature Mosques, tanks of sweet water and taps became a common sight at frequent intervals throughout the ups and downs of the dunes. Just as guided at a distance of another kilometer, the colony was there. Prejudice No 2– the houses of the Bedouins are more in the form of a tent and covered with lots of palm leaves. WRONG. They had large traditional compound houses all shaded in the color of mud and beautiful gates, most of which were left open, as open as their hospitality and warmth.
I remembered what the man at the portacabin had told me with pride that was so inherent in his voice. I could walk through any gate and find someone who would be more than willingly to help. I had no doubts about that though. The hospitality of a Bedouin was as dear to him as was his religion. History narrates that a guest could visit the house of a Bedouin and stay for three days without once being questioned about his intent and treated with generosity of the highest form.
There was a line of houses. I quickly decided on one and with great hesitation rang the bell. I figured out later that the bell had little prominence in these houses. They were most welcoming. A woman walked out of the door that was half left open. She didn’t know English enough to understand what I wanted. Her husband soon followed and pulled out two chairs at the entrance. He would now tell me all that I needed to know. Prejudice No 3– Bedouins wear their traditional Thobe at all times. WRONG – This man was dressed in a T-shirt and track pants. He made it clear in his broken English that he would explain as much as he understood of what I said. Nevertheless, no matter how modern the Badu, the men and women still wear traditional Bedouin clothes when appearing in public. Most young men wear the ‘ghothra’ (head scarf) and leave it open and in example he says ‘same same like Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid AL Maktoum”, while the older men wear it covered with the two loose ends crossing over each other on the head…
The previous night I knew clearly what my sentences would read like. I had decided I d begin with the description of the desert and the harsh living conditions of the Bedouin and take it from there. When the driver pulled the car in front of the first porta cabin, my prejudices crumbled and the more I interacted with them, the more I realised how they kept fading away.Know more in my next post.