Accompanying shepherds in Samara

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Ella, Shahar Shilo (reporting), Translation: Naomi Halsted)
סמרה, צפון בקעת הירדן

Samra, Northern Jordan Valley

We reached the community of herdsman at 07:30 as requested, but we set out for the pasture around 08:30 after a rich breakfast and loads of tea as is customary with the particular family we joined. We ate together with the shepherd, his spouse and their young daughter, the elderly grandfather and his spouse.

After the meal, we went north from the wadi and continued northward, more or less parallel to the Umm Zuka road, which connects the Allon Road with route 90. Not far from us, two more of the community’s herds were grazing. In the past, before the settlers moved into the area, the Umm Zuka road went through the heart of the grazing lands, which stretched all the way to route 90. Today, the Umm Zuka road is the border, which they don’t cross. This has considerable implications for providing for the flock and the herdsmen are forced to buy a lot of food and feed the flocks in their pens instead of basing their diet on grazing. They grow some of the food themselves – wheat, barley, and pea hay. They grow chickpeas as well, which they sell to a merchant. 

The time in the pasture passed quietly. At one time we saw the settler Uri Cohen throw garbage into his “private” dump, which is close by the pasture. At midday we returned to the family home and sat down to eat with them together with another son who was visiting. They are all waiting keenly for more rain because the vegetation is still stunted.

From Samra we drove to the Halat Makhol community for a short visit to three (of the four) households where there are children, because Ella had brought the families equipment that they had asked her to bring. We got there at milking time and didn’t stay long.