Bedouin people are awesome because:
- #1: They are spontaneous – if you just show up at any time, even if it is very inconvenient they would never let you know it. You are greeted as if you are the most precious thing to them. Plans do happen occasionally, but mostly decisions to do something are made in the moment the idea pops into their head. Before living here I used to lament the lack of surprises in my life. Now, I get surprises all the time. From spontaneous outings to the desert or to see people, to surprise guests (sometimes at 1am in Ramadan), to my husband bringing surprise items of food from the shop, or trees/ plants from the van who drives around the village selling them, to my husband suddenly deciding to sacrifice a goat for guests. To the day my husband decided to help his brother get married by giving him some of our land to build the house on; my husband came rushing in, announced/ asked me (kind of), then immediately scooted off with a hammer to start knocking down the wall so work could begin. Spontaneity is part and parcel of daily life. At least I am kept on my toes.
- #2: They have a mischievous sense of humour – I never grow tired of what they come out with. They love practical jokes, to tease one another, wind each other up, chortle at various funny scenarios which played out over the day/ week/ month/ years (often retold with dramatic actions/ demonstrations played out for the audience), laughing until tears fall, and play some very silly games.
- #3: They are generous – when visiting people for the first time you have to be very careful because if you admire something in the house the lady will think you would like it and will then rush to give it to you, and usually keep on insisting you take it even if you insist you don’t want it. Or if you say something about a food you like, they will go rushing off to buy, or cook it for you. When women visit other women they will often bring little gifts with them. Perhaps some chicken eggs, or some baby clothes, or perfume or any little thing they have with them which they think you might like.
- #4: They are remarkably tolerant – despite the fact that there are many tourists that visit the area where I live, and that those tourists follow lifestyles which are pretty shocking to them, they never make the people visiting feel judged. Despite the fact I come from the West I am never made to feel bad, or out of place. Even when we find a topic we disagree on and we have a discussion about that, people listen to my point of view, and I feel heard even if no-one changes their own mind (me included) on the said topic. When family members talk about me to others they always do so in positive ways rather than focus on any negatives they may feel. This is a very Islamic way of doing things, and seeks to focus on the positives rather than the negatives. After all wouldn’t we all want others to focus on our best rather than our worst?
- #5: They don’t hold a grudge – Men will sit down (or jump up) (women tend to be a bit calmer but it does dis-integrate into a cat fight sometimes), have a full out argument, a shouting match (it seems the one who goes on longest and loudest wins), even getting down to fighting at times, guns may even be pulled, and fired (then everyone jumps in, they don’t run away), yet unless the crimes between the two people arguing are particularly cruel or severe they will resolve the conflict, put it behind them, and genuinely move on. There is a lesson there for us all.