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Yemeni Journey

The Journey Begins…

As I sat down to write this introduction to my blog, the power went out. This is not a strange occurrence here in Yemen; indeed, it goes out several times a day. And besides, having lived in a remote mountain village with basically no electricity has taught me to live without total dependence upon it. When the power goes out, you just have to learn to do what you can, and accept that this is something that is simply out of your hands.

Out of my hands. Like the images of hundreds of people camping out, protesting, laughing and crying, living and sometimes dying, in streets I used to walk; at first simply looking at all the Arabic books hopelessly, later buying them and unlocking the secret of their words. Streets I used to walk, smelling the wonderful smells from the restaurants and spice shops, listening to the banter between shopkeepers and the bargaining that went on with every transaction. Streets I used to walk, buying brightly colored crocheted baby booties from an old woman near the Military Museum. Streets I used to walk, giving a coin to a small girl with a dirty face and hopeless eyes, or a woman hunched over her babies lying stretched out on a blanket on the sidewalk.

Change is coming to Yemen- but Yemen is a country that has seen a lot of change in its history dating back to ancient times, and the pace of that change has quickened in the last twenty years so that the people can hardly keep up with it. I have lived here for eight years- long enough to have learned to love the country, but not yet long enough to truly have become a part of it. It is a land of beauty, of stark desert side by side with lush mountain aeries. It is a land of generosity and kindness, side by side with fierce loyalties and sometimes casual violence. It is a land of war, side by side with a peace rarely felt in the world today. It is a land of strong traditions and beliefs side by side with a longing to share in Western prosperity, and charge into the modern world. It is a land of contrasts…and, having grown up Catholic in a small village in heartland of America and converted to Islaam and eventually moved here to Yemen with my family, I understand and resonate with those contrasts.

I hope that you will join me in my journey, a journey in time, and space, in mind and heart. My Yemeni Journey.

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13 comments

Susan Albert on June 5, 2011 12:45 pm Reply

Blessings on your journey, Khadijah, and on this challenging chapter in your story.

Khadijah on June 5, 2011 6:34 pm Reply

Thank you so much, Susan, for all of your encouragement- I really appreciate it!!

Sam on June 5, 2011 6:17 pm Reply

Well done, Khadijah. This is a lovely site and your writing is captivating. Good luck on this step of your journey. Sam

Khadijah on June 5, 2011 6:38 pm Reply

Thank you, Sam, for you kind words and encouragement!

Linda Hoye on June 5, 2011 8:51 pm Reply

The new site is beaituful, Khadijah. Thank you for sharing your story with all of us.

Joyce Spurgin on June 6, 2011 1:02 am Reply

This is a lovely site. I look forward to learning more about your life in Yemen.

Laurinda Wheeler on June 6, 2011 8:49 pm Reply

Your new site is beautiful Khadijah! I look forward to reading more about your life, your journey… Thank you for sharing with all of us!

Khadijah on June 7, 2011 3:30 am Reply

Laurinda, Joyce and Linda, thank you for your comments, and please do keep on reading- insh’Allaah I am planning for two posts a week.

Marie E. LaConte on June 7, 2011 3:56 am Reply

Mabrook, walHumdullihah, wa Mash’Allah on this new, beautiful blog. The photos are stunning, and your writing elegant, as usual. Most importantly, this blog introduces Westerners to one of the least known places in the world, a place offering all the diversity, beauty, drama, and complexity inherent in the human condition. You are well-placed, and well-qualified, to present it to the rest of the world.

Khadijah on June 7, 2011 4:25 am Reply

Thank you, Marie- you pointed out one of my major reasons for beginning this blog- to show people the Yemen behind the news stories, which is an amazing place full of tradition, diversity, and color. I think it is one of the least known, understood, and appreciated places on Earth, and in the current climate of fear and uncertainty in the world we need to open some windows, and show things as they really are, insh’Allaah.

Jude on June 7, 2011 5:05 am Reply

Hello Kadijah! I’m so glad you are realizing your blogging dream and look forward to your coming posts.

Dani on June 8, 2011 4:11 am Reply

Gorgeous blog, Khadijah! It’ll be a great place to share your stories and promote your books. Must you have the CAPTCHA code? WP has good spam detection, and it’s a stumbling block for anyone with poor eyesight. Like me. 😉 I always discourage the use in my blog book tours classes.

Khadijah on June 8, 2011 4:18 am Reply

Thank you for stopping by, Dani!! You know, I have trouble with the CAPTCHA codes as well- we made ours the simplest that was available. I will read up on it, and see if we keep it. Thanks again for all your advice and encouragement!