Yemen: A Different Culture

Though one can do as much reading about a place they have never visited before they embark, one never knows what it is truly like until they arrive. Enter military guards, anti-government soldiers, ‘ancient’ architecture, and a whole new set of smells. Arriving in Sana’a was truly a very unique experience for me. I didn’t have much time to explore as we left for the Arabian Leopard research area of the Hawf Protected Area the next day.

Stone buildings of Hawf city, Hawf Protected Area, Yemen

Stone buildings of Hawf city, Hawf Protected Area, Yemen

Camel walking across road in Hawf, Hawf Protected Area, Yemen - Yes, this is normal

Camel walking across road in Hawf, Hawf Protected Area, Yemen – Yes, this is normal

Enter a small town, no soldiers, less guns, few cars, one restaurant, and again a whole new set of smells. Hawf is located right near the border of Yemen and Oman, right at the south eastern part of Yemen. The people are extremely friendly, welcoming, and giving. This area is not quite as conservatively Muslim as the more western parts of the country and much of the clothing is influenced by Oman.

Yemeni man wearing head scarf, Hawf Protected Area, Yemen

Yemeni man wearing head scarf, Hawf Protected Area, Yemen

Sa'ad, our driver in Hawf, Hawf Protected Area, Yemen

Sa’ad, our driver in Hawf, Hawf Protected Area, Yemen

Boys near mosque, Hawf Protected Area, Yemen

Boys near mosque, Hawf Protected Area, Yemen

Though the ‘city’ of Hawf only consists of about 700 people, there is still a big difference between the people who spend most of their time there versus the Bedouins that live in the mountains. Since the city is located right on the water, fishing plays a large part in the culture. This includes

Ali, a local fisherman making fishing net, Hawf Protected Area, Yemen

Ali, a local fisherman making fishing net, Hawf Protected Area, Yemen

Fisherman bringing fish to shore at sunset, Hawf Protected Area, Yemen

Fisherman bringing fish to shore at sunset, Hawf Protected Area, Yemen

Selling fish at the market, Hawf Protected Area, Yemen

Selling fish at the market, Hawf Protected Area, Yemen

Fisherman tossing sardines for drying, to be used as Camel food, Hawf Protected Area, Yemen

Fisherman tossing sardines for drying, to be used as Camel food, Hawf Protected Area, Yemen

Boy hooking worm for fishing from shore, Hawf Protected Area, Yemen

Boy hooking worm for fishing from shore, Hawf Protected Area, Yemen

Boy fishing from shore, Hawf Protected Area, Yemen

Boy fishing from shore, Hawf Protected Area, Yemen

There, you can also find some of the more usual things in a small city.

Making bread in city, Hawf Protected Area, Yemen

Making bread in city, Hawf Protected Area, Yemen

Mechanic under car, Yemen

Mechanic under car, Yemen

Grocery store and owners, Hawf Protected Area, Yemen

Grocery store and owners, Hawf Protected Area, Yemen

Appliance store, Hawf Protected Area, Yemen

Appliance store, Hawf Protected Area, Yemen

The Bedouin life however is much different. It is much more dependent on the surrounding environment as they move their encampments with the seasons. Daily life consists of making bread, feeding and watching camels, and of course drinking lots of tea.

Bedouin camp, Hawf Protected Area, Yemen

Bedouin camp, Hawf Protected Area, Yemen

Older Bedouin, Hawf Protected Area, Yemen

Older Bedouin, Hawf Protected Area, Yemen

Bedouin making bread, Hawf Protected Area, Yemen

Bedouin making bread, Hawf Protected Area, Yemen

Bedouin feeding Camel ground up sardines, Hawf Protected Area, Yemen

Bedouin feeding Camel ground up sardines, Hawf Protected Area, Yemen

Bedouin making tea, Hawf Protected Area, Yemen

Bedouin making tea, Hawf Protected Area, Yemen

In the end though, the Yemeni culture is deeply rooted in helping one another out and sharing time and belongings with each other. Friendships and familial relationships are the most important and anything and everything is done to maintain those bonds. When looking at this culture, independent from any other culture, the importance of community and selfishness becomes quite apparent.

Volunteers helping to pull boat ashore, Hawf Protected Area, Yemen

Volunteers helping to pull boat ashore, Hawf Protected Area, Yemen

Dinner shared between friends, Hawf Protected Area, Yemen

Dinner shared between friends, Hawf Protected Area, Yemen

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