Saudi Arabia: Growing Up Bedu

desert-beduEverytime I get the chance to speak in detail with my beloved mother-in-law, Moudy, I learn more fascinating aspects of life in Saudi Arabia forty plus years back. If you are just new to my blog and unfamiliar with Moudy, you should read this post first which introduces her. Recently based on questions from readers posed from a second post, Moudy described what it was like as a young girl growing up Bedu.

desertfarmMoudy had a happy childhood which started just outside of Najran. She lived on a desert bedu farm with her mother, siblings and extended family. According to Moudy, her mother was a “typical Bedu mother.” She was very loving as well as very self-sufficient. She made all the clothes for Moudy and her siblings. Moudy’s typical dress was a traditional ankle length “Bedu” thobe with buttons and embroidary of a style which was unique to Najran province. Moudy would also wear her long hair in two braids one on either side of her face and no hijjab.

Her favorite pasttimes was when she was able to get together with some of the neighbor girls who were traditional-game-hopscotcharound her same age and they would play a game she called “Five Stones” which is similar to the hopscotch played by young girls all over the world today. One of her most memorable and favorite possessions as a young girl was a cotton doll made by her mother and which Moudy christianed “Bintee” (little girl). She described how she carried Bintee everywhere with her and slept with her at night.

Living on a desert farm meant that Moudy had some small chores she was expected to fulfill. Her family raised goats and she was responsible for feeding the baby goats. She enjoyed tossing the feed to them while calling out “Skalh Skalh, tallee tallee.” (little goat, little goat, come, come) The family relied on the goats for their milk and butter. Moudy’s mother would milk the female adult goats and was always careful to boil the milk carefully before anyone drank it. She also made butter with the goat milk. At periodic times Moudy would accompany her mother to a nearby souk (market) where they would sell goat’s milk and butter.

Moudy never attended any type of school until she was eight years old and by that time she was living in Makkah. For one year she attended a small school for girls where she studied the Quran. No other subjects were studied or offered. She would walk to and from her home to this small school with three other girls who were her same age.

photoshop-heart-brushes-21Moudy led a simple life and a happy secure life. Her beginnings have formed her into a beautiful traditional yet open minded Saudi woman. She always sees the best in everyone. Her face is rarely without a joyful and peaceful smile. And while her age will remain a secret, her voice continues to sound like a spirited young woman.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,277 other followers

%d bloggers like this: