We were stopped in at a red light and I spied this poor old woman walking on the divider in between the lanes of traffic. She is hoping that some passing cars may take pity on her and bestow a few riyals on her. Muslims from other countries enter Saudi Arabia on religious pilgrimage visas to visit Makkah. Many pilgrims from poor countries never leave in hopes of having a better life here than where they came from. No one really knows how many illegal over-stayers are here in Saudi Arabia, but it is well known that it has become an increasing problem every year. Many of the men are able to find work as hard laborers, however women have a much more difficult time finding work, so many women must resort to begging on the streets or dumpster diving for food or useful items that others have discarded. This forlorn looking woman with dry cracked heels was with another younger woman who carried a baby. I think they may have been from Yemen, but I’m not sure. The clickable links in the text take you to previous posts showing other poor Muslim women who walk the streets in search of food or money.

About SusieOfArabia

American woman now living in hubby's homeland of Saudi Arabia
This entry was posted in Culture, Life, Middle East, Photo, Religion, Saudi Arabia and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Poverty

  1. Can ALkili says:

    dear mrs. susie,

    i have received a job offer in jeddah (1-1,5 year period). and want to know if foreigners (my wife) has to wear the abaya ? it is important for me and my wife to know this before i accept the offer. (and would be glad if you can communicate thru mail or other way with my wife for further explanations)

    thanks and best regards

    can alkili

    • I understand that in the Eastern Province, some women do not wear the abaya, however in the rest of the country, all women always wear the abaya. If you would be in Riyadh, or Jeddah, most definitely your wife would wear the abaya. She could actually wear modest loose fitting clothing, however she would attract unwanted attention to herself and might be stopped by the religious police. If you explain to them that she is not Muslim and that you are foreigners, they may just let you go without incident.

  2. Dina says:

    It is a sorry situation but a great photo.

  3. Christy says:

    Are there no social services,or other groups, that care for the poor people like this woman?

    I’m thinking of Muslim groups that would be the equivalent of the Salvation Army or other such groups that help the poor.

    • There are some social service groups here, but I don’t know much about them. My husband assures me that women like this will never go hungry here or without a place to sleep because charity is one of the five pillars of Islam. How he knows this about all the poor people in this country I don’t know, and I have my doubts… What I do know is that this segment of the population continues to grow and become a problem. There are many more very poor people here than I had ever imagined. The recent flooding in Jeddah is rumored to have caused deaths in the thousands, rather than the just over 100 that was officially reported. The real number will probably never be known because of the thousands of people like this woman in the country illegally. The King has vowed to pay 1 million riyals to the families of all those who were lost, but I don’t know what documents might be required for proof, and how easy it might be to produce whatever is required including to prove the death of an individual in question. Somehow I think not that many families will be able to collect on this promise…

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