Category Muslim life

Syrian Refugees

Valuable lessons about giving charity

Recently I posted a picture on Facebook of an old Egyptian man sitting in his chair on a chilly winters day outside a pharmacy in the little Red Sea town of Dahab. Spread in front of him was a blanket, where he was trying to sell odd things – shoes, some clothes – to eke […]

Addicted to Morocco

Why Morocco is one of my favourite countries to travel in…

A fascination for the Sahara

Sahara is the Arabic word for desert.  Visit a desert or two, and you will find out that the desert is a magical, ever-changing landscape and not just a huge pile of sand:  huge golden dunes,  flat packed desert,  a moonscape scattered with strange rock formations or craggy and colourful mountains. If you care to spend a few days […]

It’s Christmas: still no room at the inn

It’s quite hard, I find,  to enjoy a cup of tea at someone’s house when you can hear gunshots being fired outside. It was late in the afternoon, and I was at Hashem el-Azzeh’s house in Hebron, Palestine. My friend, Sophie, and I had just spent an interesting and moving day walking around the settler-occupied neighbourhood […]

What ever happens to the bracelet girls?

“Fatima, when are you getting married?” I asked 14 year old Fatima. Fatima is one of the bracelet girls who plies her colourful wares to tourists laying stretched out on sunbeds, baking themselves red-raw under the hot Egyptian sun along the beachside promenade of Dahab. Not that I expected her to get married any time soon, it’s just […]

9 different reasons why I love to visit Muslim / Arab countries

In these days of rampant Islamophobia, a trip to an Arab country could do everyone a bit of good. Being amongst Muslims has certainly changed me, and understanding other cultures, not judging them, is key, I believe, to  peace. Travelling either as a lone female or with a group of women in the Muslim world, […]

Desert Days – spending time with nomads

Recently I had the privilege of spending a couple of days in the Sinai desert with a nomadic family. They are not quite as “nomadic” as they used to be, as modernity and necessity has crept into their lives, forcing them to adapt in different ways. Whereas children used to learn survival in the desert (how […]

The Interesting Characters of St Catherines village

The Bedouin Jebeliya tribe of the St Catherines area (South Sinai, Egypt) is full of interesting characters. In fact, I have never met so many interesting people in one place. Being around these people, with all their knowledge, fascinating old skills and wisdom, is a privilege and I learn something new every time I visit. Jamil Attiya […]

A fistful of Fata (and it’s not goat cheese)

Sitting in the dark, gravel-floor lean-to at my old Bedouin neighbours house, sipping on a glass of hot, sweet black tea, two little girls came in and said something to me in Arabic. I didn’t quite get everything they said, since my Arabic is not that great (yet!), and also since they speak another dialect, but […]

Changing Bedouin lifestyles: from the tent to a house

Times are changing fast for the Bedouin tribes of the South Sinai. Up until around 30-40 years ago most of them used to live a nomadic lifestyle in the desert, moving with the seasons to feed their herds of goats and camels on the fragrant desert herbs. They lived in tents woven from goat and […]