17 March, 2008

Some Interesting Villages Of Hadhramout

Hadhramout has many villages; very many villages. Some small, with a few people from the same family or clan; and some large. Some are very remote and are difficult to access. Many do not have electricity or piped water. Below are photos of four of these villages that I have recently visited or passed through:

Mua'wez, is in a narrow valley and is sandwiched between mountains; it's near the main road to Al Mukalla airport and about 10 kilometers from the center of Al Mukalla. It's old and almost all the houses are made of mud and stones.
As it can get very hot here, most of the houses are painted white; this helps in keeping the houses cool inside. I understand that due to the houses being old and unsafe, most of the real owners and residents of these houses have moved to other parts of Al Mukalla.

Shu'hayr is about 25 kilometers from Al Mukalla - after Al Mukalla (Riyan) airport. I took this photo one late evening about two weeks ago. During the rainy seasons, when there can be floods, Shu'hayr at times is flooded and many of the poorly built houses get damaged. At times, people get swept away by these floods.

Sulay'ef is remote - about 130 kilometers from Al Mukalla and about 30 kilometers from the main Al Mukalla-Seiyoun road; it's a very quiet village. Most of its inhabitants are pastoralists; they depend too, on remittances from Hadhramy migrants who are in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries.

A short distance from Sulay'ef, is Al Eleyb. A picturesque, larger village; whose houses, like Sulayef's, are mostly built of clay bricks. And like Sulay'ef, is off the beaten track. No tourists pass here. Note how the houses are perched high up on the hills; this is so - so as to avoid flood waters, which sweep the valleys during the rainy seasons. Note too, the antennae for transmitting phone communications. Yes: mobile phones are everywhere here; even in the remotest of places. And so are, satellite dishes for receiving TV channels. Imagine watching Opra Winfrey or Larry King here!

Al Eleyb has special meaning for me; I have a good friend here and I once had an excellent traditional meal in Al Eleyb: steamed rice mixed in spices and very tasty baked/roasted lamb. The way the rice and the lamb tasted, was exceptional.