“Cemetery is the place where I spend Eid” [Archives:2007/1095/Reportage]

October 18 2007

Almigdad Dahesh Mojalli
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People were busy celebrating the Eid, but she was sitting alone at the gate of a local cemetery that is located in one of the poorest neighborhood of Sana'a city. Hundreds of people passed by her, but very few noticed her as she didn't speak a word. A worn-off, torn and black scarf wrapped her head and a dirty small hat was on the scarf. Also, she was wearing a large grey coat with a white garment and very dirty torn trousers.

Fatima Saleh Mohammed, 82, from Hajja governorate, has no friends to spend the Eid days with. Cemetery is my home, she says.

She was sitting on some pieces of card wood boxes and a small plastic case full of tobacco powder was next to her. She leaned her back to the wall of the cemetery. She looked very miserable. Her face was dirty and it seemed that she hadn't washed it for weeks. Her left eye was covered with cataract with little on the right one. She kept silent as if she was waiting for something to happen. Very few people gave her some coins.

Fatima's feet were cut in a car accident in the 1997s and parts of her fingers are lost.

In a very sorrowful, low and contemplating voice, Fatima recounted her story and how she spent Eid in the cemetery. She was licking some of the dirty tobacco powder with her half-black hands while she was talking to me. The salvia mixed with the tobacco powder was spread on her chin and lips.

“For decades I have been spending Eid days and other days of the year at the gate of this cemetery. I don't have any relatives. I lost my three sons in the revolution of 1962. They died before they could get marriage and so left no children to take care of me. I have some far relatives in Hammdan district (which is about twenty five kilometers to the north of Sana'a) but they no longer visit me.”

“”On the day of Eid