donderdag 30 september 2010

Things I Think you need to know about before coming to Yemen

These are things that I have experienced. And some of them I found not easy, because I was used to live in the west, in Europe. So, I hope you will learn from my experience as a stranger in the lands of the Arabs and maybe you can avoid the difficulties.

Again, these things are My experiences. So others may have experienced them differently. Another point is that some important matters I don’t know of, because I have not experienced them. For example, visa, house renting, jobs, bills, etc. I am a stay at home mom and I don’t have these responsibilities.

But if you do have questions about them, feel free to post your question in the comment box, I can always ask my husband or my family in law about these matters.

• First what I have mentioned many times before, the electricity. It is very common that electricity falls out for an hour, less, a couple of hours, a day and maybe more than a day. The last one I have experienced maybe only once.

• Water. It happens many times that there is no tap water. Secondly, tap water is not suitable to use for drinking. You can drink tap water only when boiled. But we buy “maa kawthar” water that is sold in a jerry can. You buy these jerry cans from the baqalah, a small grocery store. Every time you want to buy water, you take your empty jerry can and then you pay 40 Rial and the shop owner gives you a full one in return. The price for water went up in Ramadan from 30 Rial to 40 Rial.

• The Average income is about 30.000 Rial per month. But you have to take this in consideration, rent for an apartment in Sana’a is also approximately 25.000 30.000.And livelihood expenses per month is also around 30.000 Rial per month. That’s why you see that many men when they get married stay with their parents, take their wife in their parents’ house. Also, the low income compared to the higher expenses is a reason why many women work. Many girls and even married women who work give all their salary or a great part of it to their parents, in order to help them financially.

• We use another washing machine different from the washing machines of Europe. You yourself have to fill it with water by using a bucket. You rinse the wash by hand. This process of washing clothes might be experienced as heavy, especially when you are pregnant.

• Healthcare is of course different from the health care in the west, especially if we talk about hygiene. But it is important, I think, to be patient with that.

• It is important to choose a good and a well known doctor and a clean hospital.

• It is important for you and your kids to take the vaccinations before travelling to Yemen.

• The infrastructure is also different from the west. Not all the roads have asphalt.

This in short are the things I think you should know about before coming to Yemen. If you have any questions, feel free to post your question in the comment box.

My tips to you

These are the tips I can give you if you are planning to live in Yemen, which I highly recommend, even though, life might be different for many people. And not to forget, many people who come here have with respect to wealth a better life then in their home country. Why? Because living expenses in Yemen are of course much less compared to the living expenses of the west.

It’s up to you to choose…

1. Tip number one. Make sure you always have some candles in your house. Even better if you have a few great flashlights. For men who go out at night, a flash light in the car and a pocket flash light. Or you can buy a lighter which has a small light at the end. I think they cost about 30 Rial, which is about 10 Euro cent.

2. Have at least one big bucket/ basket in your bathroom to store water in case there is no water. If you have kids, please a bucket/ basket with a lit on it and preferable something heavy on it.

3. Don’t spend your money on much unnecessary electric devices. Why? Don’t forget that electricity falls out minimum once a day! An example I can give is an electric kettle. If there is no electricity, how can you boil water? But you use a normal kettle which you put on a stove.

4. Buy if you can electric devises which work on batteries. Rechargeable are even better. Why? For the reason mentioned above.

5. Gas bottle. Have at least two. If one gets empty, you always have another one. These gas bottles are attached to the stove, for cooking.

6. Don’t drink tap water! But buy water. For babies even bottled water is used.

7. Have bicarbonate at home. You should know that white clothes get very dirty because of the dust outside. Bicarbonate is used for white clothing. In the future I will give you some advice about how to wash white clothes.

8. Get internet. This is a good way to stay in touch with your friends and family you left behind. Phone calling is expensive.
This is for now what I can think of. Maybe in the future more…

woensdag 29 september 2010

It's shay h'aleeb time

It’s after ‘asr after lunch. The kids are sleeping and for me it’s time for shay h’aleeb and time to spend some good quality time on the internet.

I am thinking about the subjects I want to write about, about my life here in Yemen. Because there is so much you need to know about living in Yemen before considering making hijra (migration) to Yemen or before considering coming here to live here for a few years. Especially if you are from the “rich” west like Europe or USA.

There is a big difference, I think, between life in the west and life here in Yemen. For example, electricity falls out approximately once a day and sometimes more, water can be cut off (and we experience that many times), doctors and healthcare where, what, who is reliable and who not, etc.

But I think that life here for me is different than for those who come here with their family and live on their own. Why? Because they can continue on with their lifestyle like they had in the west with of course some differences.

But for people like me, we live in with Yemeni people, so we really had and have to adapt to their way of living. How they do certain things. How their program looks like. But it is good, even though it was not easy, I really learned a lot. I have learned to live without electricity for a couple of hours or even a day, I have learned to store water in a big basket for if there is no water, I have learned to cook with simple ingredients , I have learned to cook smaller portions, because I was used to cook big meals, served on big plates. First when I saw how Yemeni people served their food, I thought “how can that be enough”. Later on I found out that these smaller portions of food are just enough! It’s not that they let you starve, but they serve on smaller plates and every time if the dish gets empty they fill it again with food, as not to waste!