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Behind the scenes in a Yemenite village

 1984 - 1992

In the early 1980s, I moved to Israel with my husband Ronny and our two young children.

After spending a year and a half in an absorption centre, we were still unsure where to live. One day we found ourselves driving through a backwaters Yemenite village, half an hour outside Jerusalem.

My eyes were wide open trying to absorb everything – the women with colourful scarves on their heads, squatting next to large tubs in the front gardens, plucking chickens. Kids of all ages playing games with sticks and stones or riding their pet donkeys or sheep. Men gathered in groups sipping Turkish coffee, chewing a leaf called gat, and nibbling on pumpkin seeds. How different this world was to the one I had left behind.

Ronny and I decided to stay in this village for a few months. At least then we would have some time to think about our next move. At first life seemed very surreal and poles different to suburban life in Melbourne. But the people were welcoming and hospitable which helped us adjust, and those initial few months stretched into eight years.

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