Frankincense in Dhofar, Oman

Frankincense is the most important product grown in Dhofar and I would like to highlight two wonderful women who are running their own companies which sell products made from Frankincense resin: Trygve Harris (a dear friend and founder of Enfleurage) and Atheer Tabook (founder of Lubaniah).

The Enfleurage website [https://enfleurage.me/] has beautiful photos of the trees and resin, along with a lot of information about the beauties and uses of frankincense:

Atheer Tabook is a 25-year-old Omani girl who has founded her own home business, Lubaniah, that makes natural wellness products. She has combined traditional Dhofari frankincense with the knowledge gained through her university studies to produce soap.”    [from “Working from Home? You’re not Alone,” Times of Oman, May 12, 2018]

 

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Photographs of Dhofar, Oman by S. B.

I am so grateful that a dear friend who is an amazing, creative artist has allowed me to use her photos. She lived in Dhofar for several years and really captured the spirit of this beautiful region.

I work with words but images are essential because if you want to understand a place, you need to see it from many sides with all the senses. Dhofar is the sight of frankincense trees, the smell of frankincense burning, the call of the ladies at Haffa souq telling you to come see their beautiful majmars (frankincense burners), and the sometimes smooth, sometimes bumpy feel of the hardened resin.

Dhofar is the taste of kebsa, basbousa made with coconut, Chips Oman, fresh lime juice with mint, warm paratha with processed cheese, freshly-caught grilled fish served with white rice and dates, coconut milk drunk from the coconut and tea drunk near the edge of Jebel Samhan looking out to the sea. Dhofar is the groups of old women sitting around a plate of stuffed vine leaves talking over all the news and the groups of old men sitting in their daily meeting place surveying everyone who passes and talking over all the news. Dhofar is everyone saying, “it’s qumariya [full moon] let’s have a picnic!” and picnicking in the drizzle of khareef.

Dhofar is the sound of the call to prayer from mosques, the ululating at a wedding party, the whooshing of blow-holes at Muqsal, the howling of winter winds, the thumping bass of a shabab’s car, the squawking of gulls at the beach and parrots in the guava trees, the bellowing of camels standing arrogantly in the middle of the road tossing their heads and refusing to move, the bleating of goats, the lowing of cows, the rustling of palm trees, the low humming of ACs and that odd chirping of lizards.

Dhfoar is the shine of the gold shops, Lulus’ electric neon at night, the warm yellow glow of the fancy streetlights, the flash of bright yellow as a weaver bird wings by, and the scents of dozens of perfumes wafting in the air. Dhofar is hard-packed sand roads along the beach and the rocky roads in the mountains which lead to scenic overlooks, the perfect silence of the Empty Quarter, hot May days, cool January nights and the lovely surprise of seeing a gazelle.

Animals

Landscapes and Plants

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Images about Keeping Safe in Oman: Coivd-19 and Rain Storm

A small collection of images highlighting the Omani government’s efforts to keep citizens and residents safe with frequent and clear messages about Covid 19 and the weather, with a few photos of the effects of the recent rain storm.

Part of my reason for posting is to celebrate these graphic designers whose work conveys vital information in an easy-to-understand manner to people who live in Oman, some who do not speak Arabic. For example, the image about buying animals on-line (not in-person at markets) is clear and the animals are so cute, they attract you to look at them! Another good example is the image from Al Buraimi which has a lot of data carefully laid out so that the reader can understand quickly.

A second reason it that images like this are now seen everyday on social media, but they are ephemeral. I hope the virus will disappear soon and then these type of postings will also disappear. I think it’s important to consider (and remember in the future) how the virus is being fought not just by issuing rules and regulations, but educating, supporting and warning.

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food
safety tips – eating
safety - ticks
safety tips – ticks
graphics - Eif
graphics to help explain the message
graphics
information clearly presented
house safety
emphasis on safety at home
clear instructions
clear directions
safety fun
even games!
weather warning 1
clear weather warnings
flood
Darbat
flood 2
flooding
flood 1
storm damage

A Sense of Place – Everyday Images of Animals and Landscapes in Dhofar

RAIN in Dhofar today! A tropical depression is blessing us with a lot of rain. The camels, cows, goats, and donkeys are going to be really happy – it will be green in Dhofar long before Khareef arrives.

This is the second post of ‘everyday’ images – taken by me, friends or from social media (with the photographer’s name in the image). I think sometimes people focus on the different, the exotic, the special but I want to highlight the normal sights in Dhofar and the great variety of wildlife and landscapes.

Animals

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Landscapes – Coast

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Landscapes – Mountain and Desert

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Safety in Difficult Times

Last Ramadan I gathered food images, but with the virus, people are having fewer large Iftar gatherings and, as the weather is hot, there are fewer picnics. Many of the images circulating now are created in order to educate and warn people. I think the government is doing an excellent job of being very clear about the dangers of corona and supplying fast, accurate information. Below are a few examples:

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Let’s stay home and stay safe: the Corona virus in Oman

Salalah had its first confirmed case yesterday and the local government is trying to find everyone who was in contact with the person who is reported to have delivered pizza for I-Pizza. The government is working to keep everyone healthy with many restrictions on travel and gathering.

https://www.moh.gov.om/en/corona

https://covid19.moh.gov.om/#/home

Phone numbers:

    • Ministry of Health National Hotline: +968 9219 9389 or Muscat Hotline: +968 9092 4212
    • Royal Hospital (severe cases): +968 2459 9000
    • Al Nahdha Hospital (mild cases): +968 2250 3333
    • Central Public Health Laboratory: +968 9131 3316
    • Infection Prevention and Control: +968 9131 3315

(photo by Salwa Huabis)

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