There’s a certain image most people have when it comes to Bedouin Women (me included)…
… many children, cooking/cleaning all day, uneducated, husbands with multiple wives…
But as we know, stereotypes are most often-times made to be broken, and with a community of Bedouin Women outside of Beer Sheva, in southern Israel, they are attempting to break those stereotypes.
I recently went on a day tour, hosted by an organization called Bustan (בוסתן) (orchard in Hebrew) which is working within the Bedouin community on growing environmental and educational awareness.
We visited a local school, where projects such as recycling, planting/growing trees, picking up trash, learning to make natural products etc. are being implemented into the children’s education. The school campus is an oasis within the desert, lined with gorgeous trees and bushes. The teachers are wonderful men and women, invested in making changes within their communities.
We also traveled to the Bedouin village where we heard testimonies and stories from the women themselves. From a woman leaving behind the traditions of multiple wives (when she found out her husband was to take another wife) to a woman who left it all behind to pursue her dream of an education in England and return to begin a business of her own, the stories of these incredibly strong women were amazing!
One example, Desert Daughter, a company started by Miriam, is a flourishing Bedouin cosmetics and herbal company, which sells natural products made from the Bedouin community such as soaps, lotions, perfumes and spices. A huge undertaking for a Single, Bedouin Woman, yet passion flowed out of her as she told her life story and shared goals and dreams for her company. A Gem in the Desert.
We were immersed in history and stories of these women, who throughout time, have not had many opportunities outside their own households.
To finish out our day, we had a traditional Bedouin meal, and for those of you who have never eaten a Bedouin meal, you are missing out! (I’m already missing the soup they made 🙂
Reflecting on the trip as we waited an hour for the next train back to Tel Aviv, I thought about how one person can make a change in their community, their family, or even their country. It might not be be a change that solves world peace or the ever-so-discussed Palestinian/Israeli conflict, but a change that actually brings some good into this world.
A change that betters the community.
A change that makes a difference in someone’s life.
And that’s the kind of change I see happening within these Bedouin Women and their communities.