By an Arab World Media team member
I last saw them in the spring of 2013. For three years they had shared their lives with me. For three seasons of Ramadan we had broken the fast together over the Iftar meals. Friday mornings were spent reviewing English assignments with the youngest, followed by the all-important Friday noon meal with their ever-growing family. They brought me into their home, into their family and into their hearts. They treated me with the utmost respect and honoured me with their friendship and amazing Yemeni hospitality. When the two oldest boys were married, I was ushered in on the arm of the groom’s mother. ‘If she doesn’t attend, there will be no wedding,’ she declared. They taught me a lot about their lives as well as the culture of their arid, mountainous land on the Arabian Peninsula. During the uprising of 2011, they guarded my home and cared for me, upholding the long-held Arab tradition of protecting the guest who lives amongst them. Their eldest son slept in my car at petrol stations for days to secure fuel, as it was not safe for me, as a foreign woman, to go near the stations, where queues were often ten miles long and gunfights broke out regularly. They would call my office daily to enquire if I had arrived safely and to remind me of the risky areas of the city that I should avoid. It didn’t matter that they were Muslims and I was a Christian. Their love for me outweighed any of our differences, and through that bridge of love we shared our lives and our faiths.