Live always at the edge of poetic possibilty, even in the face of severe prose. - Walter Bruggemann

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Jeepers Creepers


Nothing like a jeep ride in the Judean Desert, really, nothing. I was invited by some friends for a ride in the desert. It was a chance to "get into" the desert hills rather then just passing through on the way to somewhere. There is so much beauty and ruggedness in the desert. These first few photos are not too far outside of Jerusalem heading west. They are green because we've had some rain and snow. Amnon the guide said that in another couple of weeks it will be very brown.
At one point - OFF ROAD - which was all of the tour, we came across this Bedouin boy riding his donkey. Bedouin are nomad herdsmen pitching tents, or tin huts as you'll see below. There are about 140,00 Bedouin in the State of Israel.
We got out of the Jeep and Amnon took us closer to where this boy was headed on his donkey. His father was there and we came close to see the goats and sheep.

The father of this particular clan. Bedouin's are Arabs. According to one guide book of Israel's Arabs 78% are Muslim, 12% Christian, 10% Druze and Bedouin.

There is a herd of sheep at the top of this photo. Amazing how they are so camoflouged with the rocks.

Following the patriarch to the family 'compound'. It's fairly green where they are, many Bedouin cultivate the land as much as they can.
At this Bedouin family's home.
It was laundry day. Their water is stored in sisterns.

The matriarch of this clan. Families live together in their own compound, which is not large. There is a lot of space between families. Quite a different lifestyle than the western culture of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv! Hygene is not high on the agenda. Bedouin's are well known for their hospitality. We were given a cup of tea, the water was boiled outside on a open flame. Because there is no wood in the desert they burn sheep dung and the fire is lit by flint which there are many outcroppings along the hills in the desert. Many Bedouin these days are going into the cities for education but, for the most part, they are uneducated. Inbreeding is also a problem. In this family there were two adult children who were mentally disabled in some way.
Mama comin' out of the kitchen to greet us.
One of the tin sheds was the sleeping quarters. This is an inside view. Behind the hanging sheets are bunks. In one of the other sheds was their 'living' quarters. Most of their living is done outside.
The kitchen. There is no running water and the water is not purified in any way. Amnon says that 'they're used to it'...we'd get sick.

Chicken dinner anyone?
Resting sheep. We said, "Shoo-Khran", thank you in Arabic, and were on our way.

OK, now we really got OFF ROAD! It was akin to taking a donkey ride into the Grand Canyon only in a 4 x 4. You'll notice that it's not green anymore. It was an absolutely beautiful day, the sky was a wonderful turqouise. This photo doesn't quite do justice to it.
A shepherd crossing our path.

Another Bedouin home. This family was of some means because they had a truck.
The quiet was astounding. Every now and then we could hear a few birds but couldn't see them. This is along the Syrian African rift which is a crossroads for migrating birds. In another part of the rift we could hear cow bells on a herd of sheep very far below us. Other than that it was blissfully quiet.
Another shepherd with his donkey and sheep.
No matter where the Bedouin'll always find a pot of tea brewing.

A pot of tea and a black relationship!

One of his sheep with a bell around its neck. I think he's smiling at you.
The desert in bloom.


hoppy said...

Wow! Beautiful and austere. Would be a great place to have a cup of tea and meditate. The silence must have been deafening.

hoppy said...

...where'd you get those peepers?

Suzanne said...

It was beautiful and austere. The silence was beautiful, like I've never heard silence before. So lovely.

As for the peepers...curtousy of Olympis!