Jabal Akhdar: It is Eid holidays and there are social distancing regulations in place in Oman. The Eid sees the highest number of guests visiting each other which is invariably be the most challenging period to control visitors. The elderly especially is considered as a vulnerable group and accordingly families have been taking precautions.
Nasser al Yahyai decided the best way to protect his parents by taking them to another location for the holidays, thus the family took off to their home in Jabal Akhdar, the Green Mountain. “We all are together so it is a good thing, but for my parents the whole pandemic experience has been difficult to digest… Here in Jabal Akhdar the weather is ideal throughout the day,” said Nasser. The temperature in Jabal Akhdar is 26 degree Celsius and at night it goes down to 17 degree Celsius.
Born in 1930s, Nasser’s father Said al Yahyai and a veteran businessman from Bahla said, “In all these years this is the first time I have experienced a lockdown and seeing the nation go through a pandemic.”
Umm Nasser agreed, “A Ramadhan without prayers in the mosque, no Tarawih prayers during the whole month and now Eid without community gatherings or visitors are all unimaginable.”
Said al Yahyai misses the normal movement from place to place. He goes out only if it is necessary, but at 90 he feels sorry that he does not get to see people much due to the lockdown of Covid-19. Till today he cannot believe what is happening but has faith and he believes in God’s choice.
“What is happening right now maybe good for us, you never know,” Al Yahyai said.
But the fact is everyone adapted to the changes including children who opted to play in the garden and learn more about nature and gardening.
This is the advice Said al Yahyai has for everyone, “Strictly stay at home to be safe and protect others.”
But the grandfather of the house did not forget one of the most popular traditions for the children – Eidiya. On the Eid morning, just as any other year, Said al Yahyai had been prepared for the moment with fresh notes of 100 baisas to the delight of the grandchildren.
But in his hand there are more notes left which would have gone into the hands of other children in the neighbourhood had there no pandemic. He has decided to keep it and make it up for the other younger ones when the time comes to meet them.
“He is always prepared for Eidiya. It is a usual habit whenever he sees kids, even if it is not Eid. Before the pandemic every Friday we have gathering at his house when all his grandchildren come and he awaits with Eidiya for them,” said Nasser.
For now Said al Yahyai enjoys the open air seating of his house at Jabal Akhdar under the canopy of grape vine, amidst the fragrance of apricots and roses while listening to the national radio broadcast on Eid.
Eid of 2020 is indeed unique where everyone wants to wish each other, most importantly, ‘best of health.’