Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Odds and ends...

I mentioned that there is an area where donkeys are sold in the market...this brass/metal sign is the entrance to this particular area. Now, the other areas had plain metal/steel type signs: for furniture, woodworking, Qat, vegetables etc. Very, very important, these donkeys because they are the work horses of this country and it is an honor to be called a donkey here...means you are a very hard worker. Think of calling your boss a "donkey."
Men buying and selling Qat and there are apparently areas on this street in the market where one knows one can buy lesser or better grades of product to chew. Many have told me this is not a drug...however, it clearly has an addictive quality and one feels withdrawal because these guys get antsy if we move past Qat time. Kinda like Miller time?

These next two photos should have been done in reverse. The story is...yesterday, when the participants arrived, two of the women below had on purple scarves and my top had purple in it. We laughed and I told the other two women they must have missed the memo saying it was "purple day." So, we decided that today would be "brown day" and everyone wore brown. Now, my lady who is veiled and all in black, I knew would not participate. WRONG! She had on the usual solid black from head to toe but under her gown, she had worn a brown long sleeved sweater and had rolled up her black sleeves so she could be one with the sisterhood! We were giving each other high fives and thumbs up. Her photo isn't here because she prefers that only photos, if necessary, be from afar.
I was invited out on Friday by three of the women to eat at a Yemeni restaurant, go to a woman's club to try Qat, or see it, watch women dancing and attend a Yemeni wedding. I am going...there won't be many photos because it is just wrong to photograph women, in general. My ladies in this group have given me permission to photograph them and they know I am sharing their stories but without names often attached.
All five of these media professionals are not married and one said that she is what we would call an "old maid" because she is now 30 and should have had several children by now. But, in Yemen they all said, it is difficult to find a man with an open mind, who wants a woman who can think, and who will allow professional freedom. So, they have elected to not marry...for now. They are hopeful but honest.
One of the men from the Yemen Times sat with three of the women for lunch and I wondered how that was going to go because our veiled lady eats with the women and takes her veil down to eat and drink and eats with her back to the rest of the participants. As soon as she approached, he jumped up and said, "I am leaving you, NOW." They laughed and he made it comfortable for her. He is from another Arab country where the veiling is not an issue and which he dislikes intensely. I liked him very much for considering her first.

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