Impressions of Al Mahweet:”Almania tammam” – “W’ al Yemen kaman” [Archives:2005/830/Education]

April 4 2005

By Diana Hedrich

To date I have worked and lived in Al Mahweet town for six months. My landlord who is my neighbor at the same time and his family have made me most welcome. He calls me his “European daughter”, which brings the number of his daughters up to 6 and his total number of kids up to 8

My established daily routine is as follows: Usually my day starts around 6.30 am – without electricity – but with the most beautiful view of the mountain ranges of Hofash and Bani Saad. Then I am off to work on a bumpy road with kids running behind my car greeting me “Diana, Diana, bye bye Diana”.

Every day when I return from work on the same bumpy road the same procedure is being repeated: kids running alongside my car yelling “Diana, Diana, hello Diana”. I think I will never be able to leave or enter my house without half of Al Mahweet knowing about it.

Upon my return from work there is always an Al Mahweeti speciality provided for me: my landlord's wife gives me some of her homemade bread. This is a soft, big, round, yummy pastry kind of chubz, that became an integral part of my daily diet. Some things you get used to very easily.

In the meantime, I became friends with three Mahweeti girls who studied English at Al Mahweet College. In my free time we often meet in order to do English and Arabic conversation. Then we talk about their life in mountainous Al Mahweet and my “former” life in Bonn on the Rhine River in Germany. Obviously, two very different worlds. And yet – right there in this mountain Mafradsch they meet.

And who of my colleagues from the German Development Service has not experienced this kind of marvelous standard conversation that takes place whenever meeting someone new?

The Yemeni/Mahweeti usually asks: Where are you from?”

I answer: “Ana min Almania”.

Then the Yemeni/Mahweeti says – smiling brightly: “Almania tammam”.

My reply is – smiling at least as brightly: W' al Yemen Kaman.”

And I have already started feeling a little bit Mahweeti myself…..

Diana Hedrich (German Development Service/CARE International in Yemen)

Technical Advisor on Project Cycle Management in the framework of the “Western Highlands Rural Community development project” funded by the European Commission and CARE Germany, implemented by CARE International in Yemen in cooperation with the Al Mahweet Agricultural and Irrigation Office.