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about the Arabs of the dessert: Bedouin night!

Published: July 25, 2018

Marhaban! Kayfa halakom?! How are you doing?! Today, we began the day with morning exercises, or tamareen al-sabah, followed by the raising of the flag (today’s flag was Saudia Arabia’s), and breakfast, which consisted of eggs, bread with za’tar, and grapes, among other foods.

Next, we headed over to the cabins, or buyoot (technically, “houses”), and cleaned up our living spaces. Afterward, we headed back to Al-Quds, our dining hall, named after the city of Jerusalem in Palestine. At Al-Quds, we worked on our Arabic writing.

learning how to write our names!










picking out the Arabic letters  in examples of calligraphy!










one example of a stylized Arabic word: batteekh or watermelon!










writing letters at another station!










Following the writing session, we attended our mughamarat, which literally translates to “adventure time.” Our mughamarat are equivalent to classes, but they involve more active participation from the villagers and use the spaces around Al- Wāḥa to the fullest extent. For example, in one mughamara today, villagers learned the word for “here,” huna, and used it while they played basketball to signal to their team mates that they were open. Following the mughamara, we went to exploration time, or istikshaf, where we learned about music through singing and playing the drums, among other activities.

one of the credit mughamarat










attempting a shot!










learning a few Arab beats with our artist-in-residence!










Afterward, we headed to lunch, took a short nap, and then headed to our next mughamara. Then, we went to free time, where we took our swim test, bought candy, and played basketball or chess.

a bit of a game after the swim test!










purchasing Haribo gummies from the dukkan or store!











playing chess during free time!










Next, the villagers headed to art and sports time, or waqt al-fan wa al-riyadda. Villagers participated in a photography activity, a bracelet-making activity, a song and instrument session, or a belly-dancing class.

picking out costumes for the photography activity!










picking out beads to make our bracelets!










some afternoon belly-dancing!










Villagers then attended the short play or musalsal. In today’s episode, the tooth fairy is unable to fly to Al- Wāḥa to replace the villagers' teeth with coins and enlists the help of Goha, one of those truly unfortunate literary characters, who just can’t get anything right.

Goha struggling to lug around the tooth fairy!










After dinner, villagers attended the evening program which was about Bedouin life. Villagers learned about Bedouin clothing through a relay race activity in which they had to don Bedouin clothes as quickly as possible and race to the other end of Al-Quds to stack and unstack cups.

racing to stack cups!










They then learned about how Bedouins greet each other and practiced greeting each other.

learning the Bedouin greetings!










Next, they learned about animals and plants that are commonly found in the dessert through a game.

a camel, or gamal, and her friend!










Lastly, they learned a new song in Al-Qahira, the Arab-style seating area in the room beneath Al-Quds.

practice with the tabla!










To end the day, we headed to the campfire, and then headed to bed!


More photos