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Emirati TV anchor lives the Bedouin life with his camel herd

Abdul Karim Hanif/Sharjah
Filed on December 3, 2019 | Last updated on December 3, 2019 at 05.48 am
Emirati TV anchor lives the Bedouin life with his camel herd

(KT/Rahul Gajjar)

Saif Salim Al Tunaiji runs a farm where he raises camels to join local races.

Away from the glittering skylines of the cities, the UAE's central region is home to many Bedouin families who continue to live a traditional way of life. 

On the outskirts of Sharjah's Al Dhaid, Saif Salim Al Tunaiji, an Emirati, runs a farm where he raises camels not only to continue family traditions but also to join local races.

The 16 camels that graze his farm are well looked after by his trusted Sudanese herder Ali. Despite being a full-time TV presenter for Al Wusta TV in Al Dhaid, Saif spends at least three hours a day to visit his camels.

"It is a hobby for me, and the farm has become a gathering spot where my friends and I catch up over a cup of coffee and discuss the races I would like to sign up for."

In the rural suburbs, the day begins bright and early at 7am for the camels.
Ali would take them on long walks along the dusty trails for up to five kilometres every day to keep them healthy.

At noon, they return to the farm where they usually take a nap after their meal.
In the evenings, Ali provides them with a light snack - which mainly consists of dates and bread - before greeting Saif and his friends.

Always a Bedouin

Though times have changed, the 30 year-old Saif believes it is important to remain connected to his Bedouin roots and look after the animals that have held an important role in Emirati life for centuries.

"Camels are everything for Emiratis. It's a part of Bedouin life that will never change no matter how much time passes," he said.

His love of camels grew from the stories and lessons he learnt from the majlis gatherings of senior members of the family. 

To him, this majlis was like a school where he discovered a lot of things about his culture. 

"Well before the union or the oil, camels were used in travelling. The environment was much more difficult back then, and that's why older generations used camels for trading and to go from one place to another. 

"From Al Dhaid to Sharjah city, people rode camels to travel through three main stations - and only camels were up for the challenge."

abdulkarim@khaleejtimes.com


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