By Afran Ali
I went back to Yemen for the first time in 13 years this past summer. Our family hadn’t been back to Yemen because there’s been a lot of uncertainty in the country, and things had only started to get better recently. The last time I went to Yemen I was only 4 and don’t really remember anything except the pictures my mom showed me, which was how beautiful it was while we were there. But what I thought I was going to see and what I actually saw was something completely unexpected.
Some people in America know what’s happening in Yemen but most have no clue. Since 2014 war has been going on in Yemen against Saudi Arabia, destroying many homes and families, leaving nothing but leftovers of buildings, and a lot of suffering. On top of the Saudis sending missiles to Yemen there is also a group in Yemen that is dangerous and everyone fears them. Yemen used to be a beautiful calm place where tourists would love to go to, but now no one dares to go back.
When I was out there over the summer for four months I witnessed many heartbreaking and scary things, like the buildings and streets that were all bombed and filled with trash. I would hear airplanes and just hope they would drop anything. I was told that the last huge breaking that happened was probably a year ago, when fourteen missiles hit a stadium where kids were playing soccer at the time.
My aunties and cousins told us that living there the last five years has been really hard and scary because the stadium that was bombed is right by their house. They also heard all the missiles in fear that they might drop a bomb on their house.
Originally my family was supposed to leave Yemen a month earlier, but the airport where we were going to leave was bombed, which delayed the start of the school year for me until September 12th.
Although war hasn’t stopped and many are poor, people still have smiles on their faces and remain humble. They are also helping one another, despite not having much.
People that I talked to in Yemen say they’ve gotten used to living the difficult life, that they had to go through after the war and adapt to not always having enough food and water, but somehow use their resources, they have to survive and help others.
The way they lived there made me realize how grateful I am living here and having many opportunities that they don’t have.