ACTNews, YEMEN – Thirty million Yemenis have had their lives altered due to the war. They are amid a humanitarian crisis. This dramatic shift is also framed by a piece of the comparative history of Yemeni life before and after the war.
From the stove to the firewood
Ghadam Salem, a mother of three, is a boiled potato vendor. She used to cook potatoes on a propane cylinder stove before the war. However, this mother of three now only cooks with firewood.
“Propane cylinders have become something that only rich families can afford. The firewood used to be free. It is not anymore, but it is still cheaper than propane cylinders,” she said, quoted from Aljazeera.
Children forego playtime
Rahaf Saleh (11) must, like many other children living in Yemeni refugee camps, be willing to forego playing time to support her family. Every day, Rahaf has to travel long distances to get water. Every day, she must carry heavy containers filled to the brim and bring them back home on her donkey.
“Helping my family is my priority now,” she said.
Educated individual works as retail gasoline seller
Mohammed Qaid (20) was a student from a well-educated family. His family's economy suffered due to the conflict. He also became a retail fuel seller. He used to sell near a defunct gas station in Taiz City. Many gas stations close due to a lack of fuel because they do not receive stock.
“Before the war, I was a student and did not know anything about fuel. There was no black market. Now I sell fuel on the street. When stations are closed, people depend on the black market to refill their cars and motorcycles,” Qaid says.
Now, instead of a brick house, it is a tent
In Yemen, Ameen Abadel (35) is a father of five children. They are now forced to live in a refugee camp. They are not protected from rain, cold weather, wind, snakes, and other reptiles. Before the conflict, he had a brick house that was very comfortable to live in.
“In the beginning, we thought this would be temporary. We would get back to our house. But it seems we will not, as it does not seem the war will stop soon,” Abadel says.
A teacher who turns into a banana vendor
Mustafa (38) previously worked as a teacher in Yemen. He is now a banana vendor at a Taiz market. According to Save the Children, more than half of Yemen's teachers and education personnel have been forced to seek supplemental income because they have not received a regular salary since 2016.
“Who could imagine that I would reach that point in my life? I left my school, and now I am selling bananas. I am in the worst situation, and I can do nothing. But maybe I am luckier than other teachers who are still waiting for their salary to come,” Mustafa said.
A student in the morning, a mechanic in the afternoon
Every morning, Ahmed (13) goes to school. After school, he works as a mechanic with his father in the afternoons and on weekends. Ahmed's earnings are used to pay for his education.
Drop out of school to help family
Unlike Ahmed, who is still able to attend school, Fadhl Bakar (13) was forced to drop out in 2016. His family was unable to fund his education. Fadhl is now doing odd jobs. He will work any job to support his family.