On the day that my friend Christine and I met Om Khalid and her family, we were taking pictures of some local children and the goat herds in the Bedouin village of old Dahab. The young girls took a liking to us and invited us for tea. Om Khalid an incredibly gracious and kind woman was happy to oblige her granddaughters and prepare tea for some strangers. We talked in English and Arabic with some assistance of our small translators.
Om Khalid, literally mother Khalid, is the wife of the incredibly elegant and composed Khalid, whom we met two days later, after Om Khalid invited us back for another visit, to meet more of her family and to share some of their Eid feast. Many people came and went during our stay and men and women shared the same space which is a bit of an anomaly for the Bedouin. Perhaps an indication of the influence of Western tourists in this area.
The girls couldn’t get enough of posing for the camera. The boys, also excited to have the company, stopped playing their street games in order to be able to share some of their favorite pigeons with us. On our first visit a delicious salty Egyptian white cheese was served with some bread to accompany our tea. During both of our visits with them a steady stream of people would come and go. Some of them were other family members and others, friends. We were treated as family by all. Simple introductions and greetings took place and then the conversation returned to the events of the day or other usual family talk. This is what I love about these people. There is no pretention and no false kindness, just a genuine interest in providing comfort by being who they are whether with guests or without.
After we returned to Cairo, Om Khalid called to check that our trip home was uneventful. A good thing when returning to Cairo. I know that I made a long time friend and will enjoy a visit when I return to Dahab in December, insh’allah.