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“We Don’t Celebrate Rainfall Like Before”: Egypt’s Bedouins Send a Message Ahead of COP27

October 13, 2022

In St. Catherine, nature speaks a different language. While we — urban settlers —often speak of trees in our own terms, seeing them as beautiful scenery, the Bedouins in Sinai have taught me to not just think of nature aesthetically, but to also understand its various characteristics. Trees speak in electrons, chemical bonds, water, nutrients, and carbon. Musallam Faraj, who has been guiding hikers for nearly 30 years in Sinai and is currently a head guide for Sinai Trail, knows nature’s language like it was his mother tongue. He knows of each tree’s leaves and nutrients, the night sky and its changing moods, and the safest spots to sleep in and gaze at the stars. As a child, he traveled far to the east and west, walked deep into the northerly highlands of St Catherine, climbed the high peak of the mountains, and spent days and nights alone in the vast desert. He knows of all the hidden water wells located inside the mountains’ stomachs, and stories of nature always flow from his lips. He talks about the herbs, the camels, and the origins of the different plants. Wherever we…

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