Sunday, March 8, 2009

This day was made for you

This post for International Women's Day is dedicated to the hard-working and welcoming women of the village of Dirijat (aka Darajat) and especially to the members of the hamula (clan) who housed and fed me for five days--Dahab, Amina, Zohara, Aisha, Nahed, and Wadina.

The village is in the Negev desert. Several times a year they offer a 5-day immersion course in spoken Arabic.
Our group last April had ten Jewish Israelis and one American lady pastor.
Each of us had a different host family. After class with our excellent teacher we went "home" to interact in our fledgling Arabic language.

One late afternoon some of the young people took us up the mountain on a hike to see the village from above. We saw the big quarry, a herd of camels, the area of the ancient Spice Route, and a desert sunset.

After breakfast of fresh pita, strong coffee, salads, and labaneh.

The matriarchs with the photo of the sheikh who started the village many years ago.

My dear hostess, in whose upstairs apartment I slept (on the floor).

Neighbor women watching the youngsters' Debka Troupe dancing for us.

Sheep milk is used to make labaneh. I asked to milk the sheep and clean the pen one morning and they let me! Kef!

All the women wanted to try out the mysterious camera of the American Pastor Suzanne (who is currently blogging about her time in Israel).
For several months a year the women are busy making big quantities of labaneh.

Scattered around the village are many ovens (taboon) that are kept warm all the time (burning dung). Two or three times a day the women come with their dough, flatten it like pizza, and put it directly on the hot rocks for a few minutes. Yum, hubez taboon flat bread!
Thank you from the heart to the good women of Dirijat who taught me so much.
Shukran ya niswan!


Anonymous said...

Dina -
I think it is so cool that you particpate in this program and attempt to learn Arabic. And that you get to stay with a host family makes it an even more wonderful and worthwhile experience. I loved reading this post - I admire you for doing this!

Pat - Arkansas said...

An interesting account and photos of your experience in the village, Dina. What an fascinating life you lead!

richies said...

What a great story of remarkable women

An Arkies Musings

Hilda said...

Aside from being a beautiful tribute, this is a wonderful post about a way of life so different from what I know. Thank you very much, Dina.

Kay said...

This is so wonderful, Dina. Wouldn't it be wonderful if this could be more widespread so that more tolerance and understanding could grow and flourish?

Petrea said...

I love this post! What great pictures, what an experience this must have been. This only solidifies my opinion of you as well. You are an adventurer, Dina, a woman who must learn as much as she can about the world. I salute you.

spacedlaw said...

Great hard working women!

Bhavesh Chhatbar said...

This is such a different place!

The Upper Class Crow
Birdhouses, Birdfeeders, Birdbath

Abu Dhabi/UAE Daily Photo said...

Fantastic post, Dina. A very personal post-love the photos.

JM said...

This is a wonderful tribute! Well done!

mommanator said...

looks like the weather was nice for ya!
yet another great post of your adventures!

Eki Akhwan said...

That's a wonderful cross-cultural experience, Dina. We need more things like this to bridge difference and encourage communications among people of different backgrounds. I love the photos too. You tell the story well, verbally and visually.

Yaelian said...

What a wonderful posting! I wish I too could participate in such a language course; I studied Arabic in Finland years ago (for 1 year) and can't remember almost a thing.

Catherine said...

An interesting way to learn not only a language but also a culture.
One doesn't go without the other.

Marc said...

Interesting insight into the life in such a village. Great to see that programs like this exist. Touching post.

Carolyn Ford said...

What an amazing story...just amazing.

Arija said...

What a wonderful education Dina! The women all look to have real contentment radiating from them.

JM said...

This is fantastic! What a great experience you must have lived for 5 days! Glad you posted the link to this one.