So we ate.
And drank... camel's milk.... warm camel's milk... and I'm the only one in my family that tried it.
As Bdah poured me a mug.... he poured me a FULL one... I quickly asked for a smaller taste to try.... and I tried it. It was sweet... but different.... I was glad I tried it but a small taste was enough for me. As I questioned in my head how my body would react to such a new milk Bdah must have seen me pondering whether I should try it or not, "Don't worry, it has been boiled" he tells me. Great, should that make me feel better about it... I guess boiling it would have killed any germs that would have made me sick.... let's hope! : )
And we were merry!
The hospitality of this family was amazing. Their kindness and generosity was overflowing! So willing to give of their food, drinks, and items! Bdah's mother gave me her beautiful perfume bottle, extra perfume, and prayer beads. I tried to tell her it was too beautiful to give to me and Bdah said, "You cannot refuse!" And you can't. It is so rude to turn down their gifts. You also have to be careful what you comment on. The mother had gotten out her bottle to spray her perfume.... scents are very important here and each family has their own scent that they are always spraying on themselves and around them. She told Brad to stick out his arm and she rubbed an oil on him and went back to dip the stick in for my oil to spread on Brad and Bdah said, "Enough mom, enough! Not to much!" to which we all giggled. She spread more oil on Brad and then told him to wipe it under his chin and on his other arm. She told him she did this every nigh to her husband then and then giggled. She then did the same to me, told me to wipe under my chin and then sprayed me with her perfume. We were sharing in traditions that she held fondly in her heart about her late husband. It was beautiful. I must have told her how beautiful her bottle was... which then meant she should give it to me. As she gave it to me I tried to tell her she couldn't give me something SO precious to which I was told, "You cannot refuse!"...so I took it... and she then told me it was as much for Brad as it was for me and then she giggled.... see, the perfume is why she has 7 children.... I guess she thinks we need to catch up! : ) I also commented on the sister's dress... the one in this picture... how I love her dress and the color (I love green and it was SO nice to see the beautiful dresses under the black abaya) and she told me next time I saw her she would bring me one. Brad was given a royalty thobe and we were also given 10 packages of dates because our children love dates so much. Generosity overflows..... but the covered face and other outward differences often make us stand back, not be open to friendship, and not see ALL of the things we do have in common.
3 generations of Bedouin love. This boy is Bdah's oldest son from his first wife.
Gathering around the outside of the tent in the middle of the desert.
In the openness of our conversations I asked Bdah where his other wife was and how do you choose who to bring with you and how does that wife left at home feel about being left at home. Bdah was very open and honest with me and I appreciated that. He was in love with his second wife all growing up (remember they are cousins) but she wanted to finish her studies (she is now a math teacher) and didn't want to get married until she had accomplished her goals. Bdah's father was sick and said he didn't want to die without seeing Bdah married and see his kids so... there was a friend of his father's that had a daughter so he asked the father if he could marry his daughter... that's how he got his first with with whom he has 5 children. To marry his second wife (who agreed to get married now that she had accomplished her goals) he paid his second wife 30,000 sr (that's about $7,500) AND his first wife 30,000 sr sort of as a "peace offering". Each wife has their "own kingdom" as he calls it... their own home where they are boss so there is no feelings of jealousy or anything between the wives. Gatherings like today he just takes one wife..... I think the second wife was chosen because it was her father we visited today and he said his first wife was with her family for the week but he did bring his oldest son from his first wife. The wives know they each get their turn so the one that is left behind doesn't feel left out because she knows she will be taken to another event. He said if it is a big family event he will bring both wives with him. And that is how you juggle two wives!
Bdah did some clicking and whooping and got the white camel to cover over for a closer look!!! :)
One day we will see them again.... Insha'Allah and our journey to understanding Saudis and the Bedouin way of life will be expanded upon because of the open hearts of Saudi families that want there to be a greater understanding of their people. "Alhamdulillah"
Shukran, shurkan (thank you, thank you) Bdah and your family from the bottom of our hearts!