Al-Amjoud scattered villages praying to God for mercy [Archives:2004/760/Reportage]
For the Yemen Times
Traveling to the mountainous Al-Amjoud area seems like traveling to ancient history, not because it is filled with fascinating tourist sites and historical locations, but because it still remains an area reminiscent of the middle ages due to its lack of basic services and development projects.
Al-Amjoud area is situated on the northern side of Al-Sallam Sharab province, about 35-40 kilometers from Taiz city.
It would take, on average, two and a half hours of driving via on a four wheel drive vehicle to get to Al-Amjoud area. The road is rugged and it is shaped like a spine. The mostly narrow road is spread through high mountains and overlooks sharp sloping valleys.
After one and a half hours of driving up and down the road, I first entered the famous “Nakhlah” valley, which is located between villages on the northern side and Al-Sallam Sharab province on the south side. The valley used to be rich in water most of the year due to constant rains. It was at one time a resting destination area for migrating birds due to the lavish green appearance and water lakes it once accommodated. The valley was very famous for the growing of fruits such as bananas, oranges and lemon in addition to other agricultural crops. This valley used to be the meeting point of lovers and those seeking tranquility and peace. Now the valley is becoming more and more like a ghost town due to drought and the scarcity of rain.
We drove through several villages before we reached, “Bank Saba” villages, famous for banana plantations at “Bani Seri” village, which enjoys a water fall in the area “Al-Mahder”. The water used to pour in from a high mountain until the water had carved its trace like a scar. Now, the waterfall is complaining the scarcity of water.
Fifteen minutes later, we reached an area very close to our destination. It is the “Al-Wadheha Al-Sofla” village. The road is so rocky that our vehicle kept swinging left and right constantly as if we were cruising on a ship in the ocean amid a choppy high-tied. We passed through “Al-Melha Valley” that is similar to going through deep forest. The giant trees that we were saw were a compensation for the exhausting journey on such a rocky road. On the right side, there was 'Al-Mahdi” mountain. It is very difficult to see its peak.
Finally, we entered the forgotten Al-Amjoud area, specifically “Al-Wadheha” village. The first point we passed through was “Al-Kareef” market. In the past, it used to be a huge water lake, with passing of time, it dried out. It developed into a market for the locals and nearby areas considering the area has a school and a dispensary that provides absolutely nothing valuable to the area. On the southern side, a lonely school was constructed on the top of a hill. It is named September 26th school, and used to be a model school, but now its name serves only as a reminder of the September 26th revolution. Due to vortex of partisanship and personal conflicts, the school witnessed fifteen years of bickering and squabbling over who would control it. The extent of conflict might give rise to the notion that controlling the school would give the keys to controlling the world. Many parents abandoned the area in order to provide their children the opportunity to go school since their school was literally shut down. A whole generation was deprived of the opportunity to go to school.
Al-Wadheha village is one of the villages of Al-Amjoud area. It actually breaks into mini villages. This area enjoys beautiful and astonishing sceneries. A number of agricultural crops are growing in the area to meet some of the local needs and the demand of the inhabitants. But due to the scarcity of water and lack of rainfall, many residents have to walk several kilometers to bring clean drinking water. The price of a tank of water is around 1500-2000 Riyals.
Al-Wadheha village was once a meeting destination point for lovers, poets and visitors. It was the ultimate resort for seekers of peace and tranquility. Now, the residents are praying to God for mercy and rain and for the state to provide some simple services and development projects.