In the Clouds

Jabal Yafuz, Yemen

I stuck my head out the window and looked up to the mountains. Their height and intense green color had us all filled with awe.

At some point, the road we had been following all the way from the city of al-Hudayda ended. My father parked the car and instructed us to leave the vehicle. We were going on a hike to the top of the mountain called Jebel Yafuz, which belongs to the range of the Raymah Mountains and is the one my parent’s village, which can only be reached by foot, is perched on. Before setting out on our excursion, we rented a donkey to help us carry our baggage and a few bikes for our parents to haul us children up the slopes with.

On our way up, I couldn’t help but notice the agricultural machinery the locals seemed to have built with their own two hands to work the fields. It spoke volumes to their resolve in making a living under harsh conditions.

A gentle breeze swept through the trees, whose top branches spread up to where the roots of the next line of trees started to peep out of the ground, and brought us the smell of the countryside, a concoction the cows grazing around us seemed to have contributed to handsomely. Besides them, I found girls my age rearing sheep herds, women reaping the harvest and men schlepping it in hand-made clay pots.

By the time I completed the first half of the trek, I was so out of breath and proud of myself that I would have believed it if told we had reached the moon. After a short break, we continued, disregarding our weariness, spurred on by our eagerness to finally arrive.

Further ahead, the landscape changed dramatically; it became more rocky. The fertile land had disappeared and been replaced by gigantic granite and quartz rocks with smooth mossy surfaces. Caves, which seemed to be inhabited, could be seen scattered around.

An hour later, we finally reached the house of my grandfather at the peak of the mountain. The landscape had changed again; it was a riot of color. The traditional plows had resurfaced. The houses there were made of stone and were surrounded by trees and meadows. My grandfather’s house was several stories high, like a lot of the houses around that area. The third story enjoyed a spectacular view over the entire slope. From there, I saw that most houses boasted two doors. One marking the entrance to the barn and the second one, higher up the mountain, for the people and directly leading to the upper floors. The locals had taken advantage of the incline to build their houses: smart.

I knew from the moment I arrived at that bucolic setting that I would have to return to it time and again, for I had never seen anything so beautiful before in my entire life.


The Author, Muhammad Ahmad Ghalib Yafuz:

Born in 1991 in the Raymah Governorate of Yemen. He graduated in 2014 from Sana’a University with a degree in Geology. His hobbies are conducting scientific research, writing and traveling the world.