After Water Comes the Drought

Collection with 25 media items created by Transterra Editor

06 Sep 2013 08:00

The Bedouins living in The West Bank are living hard and simple lives. It is a daily struggle to make ends meet. Living in tent camps and small desert towns, they try to create a life for their families.
In the desert outside Bethlehem, lies a little Bedouin village called Rashayida. Circa 250
Bedouin families from the same clan inhabit the village. If you go past the village and stay on the road it turns into nothing but a small path. That is where you meet the Bedouins that still inhabit the desert.
In the area around Rashayida, the Bedouins live a quiet, simple and hard life. It is a society that does not fit in anywhere else. Here life is centered around one thing: Survival.

The lack of water is one of the great challenges in the desert. They face serious issues like Climate change, the lack of infrastructure and the always-present conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.
Even though a Bedouin does not need a lot of water to survive, the issue is not just about
clean drinking water. They need water for their livestock, personal hygiene and cooking.
Just as it is important to have water for the few crops they grow.
The Bedouins are dependent on clean water, which they can get in the nearby village
and transport into the desert. A tank of water contains three cubic metres of water that
is 3000 litres. A Palestinian family on average spends 8 percent of its monthly expenses on buying water. A worldwide comparison shows an average of 3,5 percent. This number jumps upwards of 50 percent for those Palestinian families relying on tankered water like the Bedouins.
The Bedouins are some of the poorest people in the West Bank. Their primitive lifestyle means that they pay a lot of money for water. Still the quality they get is very poor, because the water in the tanks is stagnant.
Rainwater cisterns, that collect water, are scattered throughout the area. The Romans built them in ancient times, and when fixed they can be used for watering the animals. However, this option is not enough though, due to the lack of rain.

According to WHO, every human being should have access to around 100 liters of water daily. The average on The West Bank is 70 litres.
Israelis, Israeli settlers and Palestinians get mainly their water from two places: The Jordan River and the mountain aquifer that runs under Palestinian and Israeli land. Israel also gets water from the Sea of Galilee, which is the mouth of the Jordan River. Water has been rerouted away from the Jordan River since the sixties with devastating effect. An effort to change this has begun in 2013 even though some critics deem it not nearly enough to restore the levels of the river.
The Jordan River is off limits to Palestinians, because the Israeli military has deemed it military grounds. Jordan, Lebanon, Syria also taps water from the river. This massive use
has left the river all but dry. The Dead Sea has divided into two lakes, because of the low flow.
In the Oslo accords there is a section on water, which states that the water they share shall be further resolved when the Oslo accords are resumed. This has yet to happen.

Photos by Andreas Bro
Text by Andreas Bro

Palestine Israel Mena West Bank Jordan River Water Drought Bedounis V Illage Who Collection Photo Essay

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After Water Comes Drought
Rashayida, West Bank
By Andreas bro
28 Mar 2011

Mohammad Ali is watering the little trees that are placed inside the enclosure. Every tree gets a couple of litres of water so it stays alive.

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After Water Comes Drought
Rashayida, West Bank
By Andreas bro
28 Mar 2011

Donkeys are the young shepherds' preferred transportation in the desert. Every day they lead the animals out towards food and water. The sun is coming down relentlessly and the heat is extreme even early in the day.

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After Water Comes Drought
Rashayida, West Bank
By Andreas bro
27 Mar 2011

Ferhan is a shepherd. Almost every day he takes the sheep out for as much as ten hours. He is resting before he rides on with the animals into the desert. The Bedouins have goats, Sheep and camels. The animals are their livelihood.

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After Water Comes Drought
Rashayida, West Bank
By Andreas bro
28 Mar 2011

A goat has been slaughtered and is waiting to be cut up, cooked and eaten for lunch.

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After Water Comes Drought
Rashayida, West Bank
By Andreas bro
28 Mar 2011

The young men from the surrounding Bedouin camps met up in the common “television lounge” which is a shed without windows. With one lamp hanging from the ceiling and a TV they spend the night together. The electricity they get from a solar panel, which a NGO built for them. Tonight they are watching a Turkish soap series translated into Arabic.
From left: Khaled, Awda, Ferhan, Suad, Mosa and Salem.

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After Water Comes Drought
Rashayida, West Bank
By Andreas bro
28 Mar 2011

Hamida is the oldest Bedouin in and around Rashayida. The word is that she is 110 years old.

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After Water Comes Drought
Rashayida, West Bank
By Andreas bro
28 Mar 2011

Taleb is laying on a couple of mattresses in a Bedouin camp in the desert. The Bedouins in this area have many children. A lot of men have two wives and upwards of twenty children.

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After Water Comes Drought
Rashayida, West Bank
By Andreas bro
28 Mar 2011

Several of the men have gone out into the desert to check up on the animals. Afterwards they are resting, enjoying the wild nature, before returning back home.
From left: Salem, Mohammad, Saad, Salem, Yusef and Funkhor

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After Water Comes Drought
Rashayida, West Bank
By Andreas bro
28 Mar 2011

A fire is lit for making tea. Drinking tea is an integrated part of being Bedouin.

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After Water Comes Drought
Rashayida, West Bank
By Andreas bro
28 Mar 2011

A traditional Bedouin meal consists of pieces of meat of goat or lamb put on top of a base of rice and bread and then poured over with warm water. The food is eaten by forming meat, rice and bread into a little ball, which you then shove into your mouth with your thumb.

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After Water Comes Drought
Rashayida, West Bank
By Andreas bro
28 Mar 2011

The tank is the Bedouin's only way to get water when the rainwater cisterns are not filled.
The water they use for everything from cooking to feeding to the animals. The tanks are placed in the outskirts of the camps and then the water is filled into smaller containers and brought into the camp.
The water is being transported from the nearby desert village in a tractor. With the expenses of rental of a tractor, gas and the price of the water the total amount is circa 55 dollars and is a major part of the budget. In some periods it can be necessary to collect water as much as once a day.

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After Water Comes Drought
Rashayida, West Bank
By Andreas bro
28 Mar 2011

Because of the lack of rain it is only the most robust plants that can grow. The Bedouins produce almost no crops because of the tough climate. The little crop they do have demands a lot of nurturing.

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After Water Comes Drought
Rashayida, West bank
By Andreas bro
28 Mar 2011

Empty containers in the desert. To be filled with water from a rainwater cistern.

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After Water Comes Drought
rashayida, west bank
By Andreas bro
28 Mar 2011

Alia is helping the women clean out the enclosure for the goats. Everybody has to work, even the kids. The dust is everywhere while animal feces and dirt is put into large bags, bare handed.

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After Water Comes Drought
rashayida, west bank
By Andreas bro
28 Mar 2011

Ferhan drinks from a rain water cistern. Even though the water is only for live stock due to parasites.

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After Water Comes Drought
rashayida, west bank
By Andreas bro
28 Mar 2011

Bedouin in the desert, riding on his donkey and taking care of his animals.

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After Water Comes Drought
rashayida, west bank
By Andreas bro
28 Mar 2011

Up the hill behind the fence is a large manmade pool where the Bedouins lead the animals to drink water. It is built by YMCA and Dan Church Aid(NGO’s). It is projects like this that help the Bedouins maintain their ancient way of life in the desert.
The pool is built on the site for an ancient christian church several centuries old.

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After Water Comes Drought
rashayida, west bank
By Andreas bro
28 Mar 2011

The view from Mohammad’s house in Rashayida. He has a wife in the desert village and a wife out in the desert a few kilometres away. It is a part of ancient Bedouin culture to have more than one wife.
Najat, one of Mohammad’s many daughters, is playing in front of the house.

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After Water Comes Drought
rashayida, west bank
By Andreas bro
28 Mar 2011

Omar is trying to move the donkey. At the same time the donkey is drinking from a leak in a water pipe that connects the houses in Rashayida with water.

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After Water Comes Drought
rashayida, west bank
By Andreas bro
28 Mar 2011

The men do not work as much as the women. But they always handle the slaughtering of animals. The younger men are shepherds while the older men are the patriarchs of the family. They are in charge and are responsible for making sure that everything is being done according to plan.

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After Water Comes Drought
Rashayida, West Bank
By Andreas bro
27 Mar 2011

Na’ma is making sure the sheep stays still while Sabha is milking it. The women in the Bedouin communities are in charge of almost all of the domestic duties. They prepare food, take care of the kids and milk the animals at the end of the day, when they get back from grazing in the desert.

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After Water Comes Drought
Rashayida, West Bank
By Andreas bro
28 Mar 2011

Shepherd in the desert is resting while his livestock is making their way throught the desert.