***I realized there were some issues with the initial details of the story after I double checked my research. It has since been updated with the right information. Sorry! But this should help clarify the story which I found didn’t originally line up correctly.
The sun emerges over the dunes, and a new day begins as the echo of clanging pots and pans is heard everywhere around the oasis. It is primarily the women who are busy making all the preparations. Their breakfast, much like a continental one, will consist of Arab bread, jam, cheese, egg, and spices. Soon, the familiar smell of Bedouin tea will start to permeate the camp. This traditional tea consists of a mixture of black tea leaves, cinnamon bark, dried wild sage, cardamom pods, and raw sugar brewed slowly in a kettle on an open fire. The most prominent ingredients are sugar and sage, making the tea very sweet and very addictive. Some have called it Bedouin Whiskey.
The camels are awake but lay still on the ground, observing the commotion of the women around them. Having repeated this trek for many years, they know they can now enjoy this temporary role of watchdog and understand that the travels are on hold for now. Soon enough, they will again have to be beasts of burden for the nomads when it’s time to migrate to a different area.
You can hear a mother calling her son’s name, Badawi, from inside one of the tents, probably trying to rouse him from his sleep with the expectation he would help bring water to their camp or possibly milk one of the goats. It’s not unusual to hear that name often in the camps as Badawi is very common for an Arab boy. It has the same meaning as the word Bedouin – people known for living in the desert in tribes and clans, possessing great bravery and loyalty. Bearing this name is, of course, a great honor.
The elders begin to emerge from their tents and meet up at the center of the campsite. They are considered the wise ones in the Bedouin tribes, are highly respected members, and are taken care of as they continue towards the end stages of their lives. The youngest in the community revere the life experience and sageness of the elders. Because of their knowledge, they are tasked to lead, advise and counsel others when needed and frequently sought out for guidance.
The women begin to serve the elders, ensuring they have provided enough tea and food to start their day. Smiles abound, and frequent bowing is observed as the breakfast foods are plated and put before the elders. Everyone takes their time and is thankful for the nourishment provided. And they are grateful for each other, for there is always a feeling of security within their tribe.
“Badawi, come here and pick up the dishes,” one of the mothers is heard instructing her son. “Take them to the edge of the water and wash them thoroughly.”
“Yes, Mother,” the boy replied politely as he gathered the dishes and took them to where the reeds weren’t as thick at the water’s edge. He quickly cleaned them and headed back to the tent, putting the plates away for the next meal.
“Thank you, Badawi,” said his mother. “Now go play for a bit. There’s time before I need to prepare for the next meal. I will call you when I need you again.”
Badawi was always very respectful to his mother, as were most of the Bedouin children. He turned and headed towards a group of boys kicking around a ball close to one of the dunes. Every time their feet hit the ball, a dust cloud of sand blew up into the air, too, the boys getting doused with it as well. But regardless, they were enjoying themselves as their laughter could be heard all around.
From a distance, Farid watched the boys play with their little brown ball thinking, “Another year we have to endure them.”
TO BE CONTINUED ON THURSDAY…