Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Milkman cometh...

Early in the mornings, when Nablus is just waking up, there is a man who tours the streets, shouting something monosyllabic in Arabic. I often heard him, and wondered what he was saying.

I found out the other day: a man and his donkey come round the streets, the animal laden with baskets full of fresh milk. Presumably he rides in from the surrounding hills, and the milk must be either donkey or goat's milk, as I haven't seen any cows. The man is poorly dressed, but the donkey is in good condition, and he manages to sell all of his milk in this area, which is one of the more affluent areas of the city.

On a trip to Jericho a few weeks ago, I spotted some Bedhouin encampments, and was impressed by their spartan living conditions: ripped black and off-white canvases, stretched over bendy poles, in the manner of yurts. There were a couple of water tanks, presumably a modern consession to desert living, but otherwise they were living with even less than what I consider to be the bare essentials. There were herds of sheep, and the occasional goat, but no grass.

I was struck again by the drastic simplicity of their lives, and how they seemed from another age. Which of course they are.

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