How Do Yemenis Perceive Public Parks? [Archives:2000/22/Health]

May 29 2000

Yasser M. Ahmed,
Yemen Times

If one casts a thorough look at Parks in our country, he would surely notice they lack the simple basics of care and beauty. If for one day you decided to make a picnic for entertainment to lessen the stress of modern life, you would be let down, for you might not find a place to go to, knowing that there are very few Parks in the capital Sana’a. Even if you decided to visit one of these Parks, you would observe that they practically do not look like what a garden should be; more trees die every day, unsafe old playing equipment mocking at you dust that turns your clothes black,.. etc. In one word, every day they are getting worse and worse.
Furthermore, the zoos that we have in the country are hardly worth that name. There are very few animals, some of which are domestic animals and birds, which people would not enjoy seeing. Until 1964, Yemen did not have a zoo and even the ones we have now are not so big. Take for example Sana’a Zoo which has very few animals and even those do not have sufficient protection and care. Many people are aware that a few animals have managed to escape from the zoo creating panic among the public as if saying “I will visit you before you visit me”.
The Yemen Times prepared a report about Parks in Yemen and interviewed some people to take their opinion on this matter.
Abdul-Rahman Sofyan
I have been living in the capital for a long time now and I rarely go out. However, occasionally when I went out, I usually returned home dissatisfied and frustrated. Instead of amusing myself and being relieved from life’s stress, I became even more tired because of the hot sun and dust that covered me from head to toe. When you enter the garden you would see few trees here and there, unlike the ones you would find in farms or the countryside. We should remember that our country was once called “Yemen Al-Sa’aedah” meaning ‘happy’ Yemen because of its greenery that was everywhere.
Faheem Yaseen Ahmad
Many of our holidays and vacations are wasted by sitting at home and doing nothing because we do not find good places to go to. Our gardens do not have well-grown trees nor do they have services like in family restaurants. If those gardens have trees, you find them rather weak and not properly taken care of or irrigated regularly. Moreover, children play with unsafe equipment. The authorities do not pay attention to the beauty of these gardens and therefore they are malnourished. As a result we deny ourselves the privilege of enjoying beauty of nature which is partly responsible for our frustration and unhappiness.
Nasser Mokbil Al-Himyari
Gardens are found in villages because the farmers have fallen in love with nature and trees. You find different kinds of trees bristle with birds. These are the real gardens that we should visit. Therefore, I ask people with vacations to drive outside the capital to see the beauty of these gardens. As for the gardens in our capital, I would rather not talk about them and let people see and judge for themselves.
Hana’a Ali Ahmed
First of all, all capitals and big cities in the world should have gardens and zoos to help people break the monotony and drudgery of their daily life. Therefore, developed countries always give great attention to establish gardens for their citizens. Unfortunately, our country does not have gardens where people can go to. Most of the gardens we have are large dusty areas of land, mostly not planted, and even those which are planted soon turn dusty because of the lack of proper attention. However, I think that gardens, in the full sense of the word, would not exist unless people themselves become aware of the importance of trees. Only then would we have gardens everywhere and in front of every house, as well.
Mona Al-Ansi
Developing Parks is very important especially in large cities. People need to find quiet places to rest after a hard working day. Each one would be able to spend some time with his family and friends. Therefore, many countries have gardens for their citizens so that they would spend their leisure time happily, and kids could play to learn new things and enjoy playing with their mates. Our country, on the other hand hardly has any gardens and those which are present, lack basic amenities and charge a heavy entry fee. I urge upon authorities in charge to take care of gardens so that people would find an alternative for chewing Qat that wastes their time, money and health.
Marwan Hassan Ahmed
There are few zoos in our country and those contain a few commonly known animals. Our generation does not have good knowledge of different kinds of animals. We have only one zoo in Taiz, which is utterly neglected. It contains three species of animals which have grown very old. The capital, of course, also has a zoo which is fairly good. Finally, I hope that authorities in charge would take care of zoos and bring more animals to them. People are in dire need of zoos to get relief from their feeling of frustration.
We will continue talking about gardens as long as they do not satisfy the public needs. The sense of beauty has almost vanished and people have become unable to feel the magnificence of life.
In this report we have sought the opinion of only the public and not the authority in charge. So we are naturally anxious to know their response. We hope this would give them the will to preserve whatever is left of trees and flowers in Parks.
We should all bear in mind that it is not just the authority’s responsibility but it is also our duty to take care of gardens. Therefore, media should play its role in educating people on the importance of trees and encourage people to plant trees and take care of them.
Today, trees have become important especially because they purify the air we breathe. So I think the solution to this problem is the following:
Developing as many as possible Parks in all cities and provide them with necessary facilities.
Educating people on the importance of protecting gardens through the media,
allocating large pieces of land for making gardens in future and bringing new animals to zoos especially those in Yemen and in danger of extinction.