“Becoming Bedouin” Again

Home is where the heart is. Home is where you find acceptance. Home is where you find gentle teachers, new sisters, acculturation. I’ve had many homes — Heimaten, adwaar — many mothers — Mütter, ummhaat — spanning continents. So what is home, exactly?

This is the question posed by the new anthology Being Home from Madville Publishing, and I’ve offered one answer to this question in my essay, “Becoming Bedouin: Daughter, Sister, Teacher.” Previously published in Silk Road Review, I’m excited to put this piece out in the world to a new audience.

Most Saturday afternoons … I would be sitting towards the back of the mid-sized bus, waiting for it to be full enough to depart. Sometimes, a local man would stick his head in, take a long look at me, and ask the bus driver, “What’s that ajnabiyya doing on your bus? What could she possibly want in Faiha’?”

“Ajnabiyya?” All three of the drivers always clicked their tongues in the same dismissive fashion, always had the same easy response. “That’s no foreigner! She’s our daughter, Maryah al-Harahsheh.”

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