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