On April 23rd, 2002 twenty-two members of the Udhailiyah Women’s Group were honoured to be invited to visit a private camel herd outside of Hofuf.
We were met by Nasser Al Marri, whose father is the owner of the camels that we visited. Disembarking from the bus, some of Nasser’s nephews and one of his brothers greeted every lady with a warm smile, a carnation and chocolates. They had already won our hearts!
We were presented to Nasser’s father, uncle and cousin with his mother standing on the side. Nasser’s father is a short man with a long white beard. His eyes were his most interesting feature as they did not miss anything. He cannot speak English so Nasser translated and was our narrator for the event. After meeting his father, Nasser took us around explaining the different camels present.
The camels were all grouped and separated according to age. There must have been a couple of hundred camels and it was evident that they were well cared for and much loved. The camels would come up and nuzzle us with their noses and throats. They seemed very comfortable with us there and allowed us to take rolls of film. If you wished, you could ride one of the camels and a few ladies did. They were the most beautiful camels that I have ever seen.
As the sun was setting, the cameras were still clicking and we all commented on how beautiful and cool the evening was. There was no shamal or hot temperature that day as earlier in the week when our weather had been miserable with shamals blowing in.
We made our way back to say goodbye to our hosts and boarded the bus to head into Hofuf for supper at a local hotel. Nasser joined us for dinner then we went our separate ways to do more shopping before heading back to camp.
It was one of the most peaceful and enchanting evenings that I have ever spent in the desert and could now understand fully how these Bedo people could love their heritage. All of the ladies that were there that night were honoured to have been part of this very special occasion.