Friday, January 18, 2013

The Family "Farm"

One of the things I like most about Oman is how connected extended families are, family is always visiting, or  being visited, and many people count their "cousins" as close friends (Omani cousins are pretty loosely defined, there's not really any distinction made between the child of your parent's sibling and a 4th cousin-twice-removed, regardless of the convoluted line of relation, everyone is either and Aunt, Uncle, or cousin.)

Every Friday (the Omani equivalent of Sunday) my family has dinner with our Aunt and cousin, and occasionally we go over to the family "farm." Most families have a communal "farm" or misraah, where they get together for family reunions, holidays, and parties. For the Bahlanis, the misraah hosts a mini family reunion on Fridays, and different families drop in and out throughout the day. It's technically owned by my host Dad's older brother, but the whole family pitches in to keep it up. It might seem confusing to American sensibilities to have an entire house just for family gatherings, but in Oman, they happen so often it's just practical. 

Okay, so the term "farm" is somewhat misleading, while they do have a vegetable garden and some chickens,  it's more "house with lots of land" than "farm."

The farm also features this epic-ly massive tree, of which I've yet to take a satisfactorily good picture. It's beautiful. 
The green spaces are always filled with kids running around playing football and the house is usually atwitter with laughs from aunts and cousins, poking fun at one another like only family can. It's a good time, even though I only can understand a small portion of what's going on, as it's usually happening in Swahili or Arabic. 


  1. That tree is AMAZINGLY ancient! These photos are beautiful, Hannah!