Bedouin Dreams

Bir Zayt, Palestine

I came upon this Bedouin family as I wandered a highway just outside of Birzeit Univesity, slightly lost. I had attempted to take a small bus from Ramallah out to a friend's village and apparently had boarded the wrong bus. So I wandered along the road until I realized I was most likely not going to find the right village anytime soon and the sun was quickly leaving the sky. As I waited to get bailed out by an SOS call I had made, I stood on the road and was looking down at this camp. I have been deeply curious about the Bedouin way of life. Jordan and Palestine, and really the whole region, has deep Bedouin roots, and some still do live that life to this day. It has changed some no doubt, but I had seen Bedouin tents even on the outskirts of Amman right next to the big new shopping mall, and this walk I found myself on lent itself to the perfect opportunity to finally explore the life of a Bedouin family.

This family has lived in this spot for many years, though they are being forced to leave due to development. They are sheep and goat hearders and apparently make a decent living selling their products locally. It is a choice to live this way, the matriarch of the three generations that I met explained it was what they had always known, what their family had always done. This was their life just as yours is yours.

I was particularly intrigued by the teenage girls who shyly milked the goats. The one with the bright magenta top had a kind and beautiful face, and was shy but curious. I thought to myself that she had the look and feel to me of many of the young teens I had seen around Ramallah, but here she was doing the work of a day gone by, sleeping in a tent with her family. The valley and surrounding hills they were camping on had such a simple beauty to them, and I felt mildly envious of the life of simple, hard work done outside on the land you are from.