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Inspired by - Yemen

The island of Socotra – Yemen

Posted by rod - 31.03.2011

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This is a guest post by Yumna who traveled to the remote island of Socotra, Yemen to document the life on the fairly unknown small archipelago.

“The tiny island of Socotra is unknown to most globe-trotters, but this magical piece of land belongs to Yemen. Settled in the Indian ocean, 250 km from Somalia and 340 km from Yemen, Socotra is practically untouched by the modern world. Named “the most alien looking place on earth”, Socotra’s inhabitants are foreign to both Yemen and the rest of the world. A third of its plant life is found no where else on earth, and its population speaks a terribly distant version of Arabic that not even a Yemeni would understand.

Just imagine being surrounded by the nicest, most welcoming people on a beautiful island that is untouched by modern technology and tourism. Sounds amazing, right? It was. Our driver, Issa, informed me that I was one of the few Americans he had met, as most tourists come from Italy or other parts of Europe; hardly from America. From my experience, America as a whole seems to be pretty cut off from Yemen aside from what’s been going on in the news, casting a negative shadow on a truly incredible country. Socotra is Yemen’s hidden treasure, completely untouched. Although the scenery was mind-blowing, the locals caught my attention the most. I was amazed at how nothing was ever put to waste or used in excess on the island. They barely farm and are foreign to modern architecture, goats and cows roam freely and houses are built out of indigenous trees and stones. Children are given responsibility at young ages and each family member plays a huge role in maintaining the family’s stability. I met a group of young boys at one of the beaches we visited,  they were fishing for their family’s lunch and dinner and were damn good at it, too. I was amazed at how generous and welcoming they were. We later picked up three kids who were hitchhiking for a ride back to their village. Since the island is relatively small and pretty much free of crime, it’s not considered a problem for kids to hitchhike. Their villages are far spread from schools and local markets. Sitting in the backseat of the car, we spent the entire ride examining one another in awe. One of the younger girls opened up her abaya to reveal the blue dress she was wearing underneath, then pointed to my blue jeans; we laughed at our differences. I couldn’t help but wonder how these kids would interact with kids in America. Both parties would be shocked at how their lifestyles compare and contrast. If they had been given the material and resources to further themselves in a modern industrialized society, they too, would succeed. But, alas, they are happy on their island with their families, living a relatively simple life.”

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1 Comment (add yours?)

I am very pleased there are people and places that western civilization and the industrial complex have not yet touched or destroyrd. May Allah truly bless the Yemeni people of this virgin culture and its people. Keep them safe.

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