Tuesday, September 26, 2023 | Rabi' al-awwal 10, 1445 H
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The inspiring story of the sage of the mountains


He knew the secrets of every tree, the language of every species around him, the story of every hill, and the rhythm of every raindrop.

Living in a quiet village in Dima Watayeen within the jurisdiction of Jabal al Abyad, Saleem Al Handali is a breath of fresh air and an embodiment of youthful spirit and authentic Omani hospitality.

Saleem, as of late, has gained popularity because of his good nature and his infectious laugh. His snow-white beard and lined face, with a smile that could light up the darkest days, had made him an attraction on his own.

His stone house is located at the edge of the village, amidst the rolling hills. He loves his home, and he considers it his treasure to be able to witness a sea of green as far as his eyes can see.

While his home might be simple and his lifestyle that of a shepherd of goats, he welcomes tourists and locals alike to his home with open arms. As one of his guests, he can regale anyone with his fascinating stories. What makes Saleem truly a gift is his ability to transport people to a different era, to a forgotten generation of time past.

As a result, Saleem has become a historian of sort — a good resource for all the stories and changes that have happened within his area.

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Saleem's remarkable, lovely spirit has a magical way of turning frowns upside down and inspiring listeners to break into bubbles of laughter.

Once someone sits down with Saleem, it is easy for anyone to know that he has gathered wisdom from a long and well-lived life.

As a herder, Saleem looks after his goats as they explore the mountains for food. At home, he is also a farmer, planting seasonal crops like onions and garlic. He also loves collecting wild thymes that are scattered across the wide expanse of Jabal Ak Abyad.

As Saleem shared, he likes using this fresh, organic produce to garnish his dishes, which he served to visitors to his house.

For those who have visited this sage of a man, they often fall in love with his dishes made out of goat's milk. The best milk he usually serves is the one with satar.

Surprising to a lot of people is that, despite his simple lifestyle, Saleem actually has a good social media following. In a world that has embraced technology, Saleem remained a source of authenticity, sharing snapshots of his daily life with his avid followers.

Observers noted that his viewers love the simple videos he shares—aa beautiful insight into a farm life with all its hardships and challenges but also filled with fun and joy.

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Saleem was recently visited by a group of media and digital creators who belonged to the Safar Majan group.

They helped him craft some of his videos, allowing him to reach even a bigger audience.

From his simple day-to-day activities to some of his fascinating stories, they manage to showcase the best of Saleem's personality, making him one of the most lovable social media personalities.

Having a positive, joyful personality, it was hard to imagine Saleem being in a sad state, but when asked what sad memories he had, Saleem shared that he was admitted abroad for a health issue, and when he came back, he didn't understand why people were staying away from him.

Ever the people-loving person, Saleem felt abandoned by the world when nobody came to visit him.

He even had a point when he asked himself what he had done for his loved ones to desert him.

It occurred much later to Saleem that the world was going through the COVID pandemic and that people were staying away to help make sure he didn't get sick.

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Without guests, Saleem can usually be found sitting on the corner of his stone house. Even in silence, one can see the smile in his eyes, which also reflects the wisdom of his years. Upon closer inspection, the lines on his face also reveal a life filled with different adventures.

Saleem's heart is always filled with gratitude, and from his humble abode in the mountains, it is a true miracle that he was able to create connections with thousands of people from around the world.

Saleem is not just a wise shepherd at the edge of the village in Dima Watayeen. He is a source of joy who continues to inspire the world, thirsting for a life simple and different but seeking to preserve a heritage.

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