The camel – God's gift to the bedouin

The bedouin like to say that God has been fair because He gave them the ideal tree for their desert, but He has shown His bounty by giving them the camel as well. This animal is not only as superbly suited to the desert environment as the date palm, but it also provides for almost all the further needs of its owner. The camel gives the local tribesman his mobility. The camel is his mount as well as his beast of burden. He can ride it to war, to his date garden, to a distant market, a port – or for fun in traditional races. He can load his camels and take them in a caravan across terrain where no other transport could pass. Often camel milk and the products derived from it were almost the only source of protein for the entire family for months on end; then one day there would be a feast to celebrate a wedding or the arrival of a guest and a male camel would be slaughtered to provide meat. Camel hide was used to make bags and other useful utensils, camel hair was used to make tents, while some of the finest mens' outer garments (bisht) were woven from the hair.

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