Saturday, May 22, 2010

Katie, on a scale of one to ten, how jealous are you of me?

Yup, I've become a real Bedouin out here. I ride on camels and Arabian horses from place to place distributing medicine and love and spend my nights beneath a beautiful Arabian sky. Just kidding haha. This horse is actually not broken and was doing it's best to bite me as I held on to it. Despite my cool, cowboy appearance, it was pretty nerve-racking. The farm is owned by the al-Ouns, a family who lives in Subha (really close to Salhiyya where I'm at) and who has helped us out a lot in the Badia. They are one of the more prominent families in the area and own most of the farms and shops in the area. Shlash, one of the al-Ouns, works on the farm that we went to on Wednesday night and is a really good friend of Loren, the guy who's been in the Badia since January. Although I might not be a Bedouin, I did ride a horse and a camel for the very first time. They have 14 camels, two absolutely beautiful Arabian horses, a few cows, a donkey, and 500ish sheep on their farm. Have you ever heard a camel make noise before? Just make really throaty, guttural groans and you have the general idea. It is one of the most godawful noises that I've ever heard. Riding a camel is a really interesting experience, too. You ride on the backside of the hump, which actually provides a comfy seat. Camels are really big, too. While we were there, we had to change the ropes that tied together three of the legs of a bull camel that had rubbed the skin raw on one of the legs. They tie three of the legs together because camels, apparently, can kick in 360 degrees (unlike horses), so if they try to kick, with their fourth leg, they'll fall down. But anyways, we had to get the camel on it's side. Remember that camels are probably eightish feet tall and are just huge and do not like to be forced down. So, you have to pull down on a rope around their face until they kneel down, which takes some work in and of itself. Afterwards, you have to push the camel over on its side. Remember, the camel is not happy with this and is probably trying to bite you at this point. When pushing the camel over, you have to avoid it's kicking legs and then sit on it's hump to destabilize it so it can't get back up. Also at the farm, we drank camel milk. It was pretty good, actually- it tasted like melted ice cream.
Well, we've been doing other stuff than just riding camels, eating at people's houses (it's amazing how many different ways you can cook rice and chicken), going to pool houses with the shabaab (the local term for young guys), and playing soccer with little neighborhood kids. Business is just done differently out here- I feel there is no sense of time and people get things done at their own pace and in their own time. Life is basiita- simple. I have been teaching English at a preschool, which is pretty fun, and it seems that most of what I'll be doing out here is teaching English and helping people write proposals in English. Oh, and I agreed to make a website for the organization that we work for despite the fact that I have never done it before and have limited internet access. My phone died again, and it looks like I'll need to buy a new one, so all my adoring fans will have to wait a few more days before they can call me (and before I'll have regular phone access. I feel like a little kid here- I eat alot of candy and don't shower (tonight was the first time since Wednesday morning).
Ok, so I'm going to try and update my blog more often and put on more pictures. Maybe I'll update it tomorrow if I have time. Til then, I'll leave you with another camel picture. When camels get angry and start making lots of noise, they end up sticking out there tongue. So, here you go:


  1. Brilliant, Jamesy. Brilliant. I'm glad to finally have an idea of what the purpose of you being there is. Camels look like a real joy.

    Miss youuuuu.

  2. Funny title James. It sounds like you're doing great. Don't corrupt the pre-schoolers please.

  3. Am I Katie? 9.2 (I like to shower).

  4. james I am impressed by your prolific writing capacity. my blogs are getting shorter and shorter. oh well