From Tea Invitation to Resisting for Living

A photo while filling out the water with neighbors in Sana'a – Yemen 2019

In the time of resistance and conflict, we find some stories of searching for the simplest things to live that became a part of our daily lives.

One such story was that of my neighbor when she invited me up for tea and a chat. That day, when I went to her house, was the same day she should go to pick up the gas cylinders from the sheriff because of the crisis of gas. It is challenging to get, and the process now has to go through the sheriff.

My neighbor got busy having to take her gas cylinder; I went with her and then we could not open the gas cylinder to make sure that it is safe. I went to my house to bring the opener and then back to my neighbor’s house to open the cylinder. However, we couldn’t. On the opposite side of her house, our neighbor was grazing sheep, and we asked for his help. He came and opened it; the gas leaked out and made a scary sound, our neighbor stepped back to the other side, and my friend and I got somehow afraid, but at the end, we have done it well.

After a few moments, there was a water tank for the needy, which happened to be full of water. It was a chance for my friend to go to fill her bottles, she took about ten bottles, and we went to a line to fill it. Every woman in the neighborhood fills her bottles and asks me to help her put the water bottle after filling it on her head to go home. It was hard work!

During the water filling, I met my other neighbor. She is an older woman filling the water and asking me:

“My daughter, have you married or not?”

“Do you work or what?”

She was doing small talk to kill time during filling the water, and then I took her bottles to her house, and she was telling me to have fun.

A man was filling the water, he filled two water bottles and then returned home to get his wife to fill the rest, I was feeling her tiredness while she is carrying the water bottles on her head.

It was rainy and so beautiful between the water, mud, and chilly weather. After a while, my friend was embarrassed for being late and for the hassle. She apologized as she intended to invite me over, talking and having a cup of tea and what not. Instead, we went to take the gas cylinder back home to examine it, then to the queue to fill the water with the women of the neighborhood. However, I told her: “This is the best Invitation I have ever got. We got dirty between the mud and the coldness, we got afraid of the gas, we filled out the water, and we helped the women. I was happy living the situation and resisting to live”.

We got back home, laughing at what happened.

During the four years under the war in Yemen, it became the routine of Yemeni’s life: searching for the necessities of life to continue living, and searching for hope despite the worsening humanitarian situation and the recent spreading of cholera.

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