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Safety Abroad Interview with Little Pickle Press

I’ll admit it. When I first came to Yemen almost nine years ago now, I was a chicken. When I saw all the armed guards in the airport and at checkpoints around town, I worried about living in a place that needed so many guns. When I saw the way drivers ignored every traffic law ever created, I worried about traveling. I worried about the water coming out of the tap, and the vegetables for sale at the market, imagining kajillions of bacteria waiting to infest my family.

One of the first lessons I learned in this stark, beautiful land, though, is that worry is useless. The Prophet, may Allaah’s praise and salutations be upon him, said what means, “Trust in Allaah and tie your camel.” I have truly learned the meaning of this hadeeth, and have worked hard to implement it in our everyday life. I take whatever precautions I can, and then trust in Allaah, knowing I have done what is in my power to do. I have seen people who have never learned this, and who live here in a state of perpetual fear, always on their guard- against what, I don’t think they even know. It’s sad, because it drives a wedge between them and the people of this land where hospitality holds a such a high place. I have heard of people refusing to eat or drink anything when visiting a Yemeni. Or, recently, my son told me that a Yemeni woman came to visit one of the Americans who had a baby who was a few months old. After the Yemeni woman’s daughter touched the baby, the American ran and slathered disinfectant wherever she had touched. So sad…and we wonder why bridges between us take so long to build…

I was recently interviewed by Dani at Little Pickle Press concerning the issue of safety. Interested?

Read on…

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Aishah on September 24, 2011 12:51 pm

I worried about a lot of the same things when we went to Pakistan the first time. The water, food, the germs, everything. We got sick a couple of times. I felt the “I just knew this would happen” feeling, but after a while I realized I wasn’t really putting enough trust in Allah(swt). So I just did what I could, stopped panicking about every little thing and put my trust in Allah(swt) for what I couldn’t control.

In Pakistan or Yemen and places like them it is the only way to really live. If you follow your kids around with a sanitizer bottle and worry over what you can’t control then that is all there is in life, worry. No joy, pleasure.

Khadijah on September 29, 2011 5:24 am

Alhamdulillah, you’ve clearly found the middle way, and one that works for you and your family. It is comforting to know that whatever is going to reach you, is going to reach you, and whatever you will be spared, you will be spared. I read often in the news about food borne illness outbreaks in Europe and America, where the standards are theoretically set so high- so we each have to do the best we can do. I am sure that you have seen, too, how being open and not too judgmental can really help to bring people together. We’re like little ambassadors to the world (I know that sounds a little stuffy, but you know what I mean) and thus we are responsible to show people of other cultures and places kindness, understanding, acceptance and friendship.