Some 43 people recently took to their donkeys on a two-day 65km trip aimed at reviving the traditional lifestyle and practices of generations gone by as well as to promote domestic tourism in the sultanate.
“It was, in a way, tracing the footsteps of our grandparents while on a trail linking the wilayat of Al Qabel with Dima Wa al Taien in North Sharqiyah,” said Salem al Balushi, head of the Generations Team, that organised the trip.
Speaking to Muscat Daily, Balushi said, “Some 43 people from North Sharqiyah governorate participated in the trip between January 9 and 10. It took two days and 65km to complete the journey. On the first day, the participants set off from the wilayat of Al Qabel to Al Aqeedah village, a distance of 30km, and camped there. The next day’s trip started from Al Aqeedah village to Dima Wa al Taien.”
He added, “Our trips aim to rekindle the spirit of exploration mastered by our ancestors, spreading the culture of preserving the environment, promoting archaeological sites in Oman, and inculcating the culture of fitness among people.”
He said the group’s first trip was in December 2020 from the wilayat of Al Qabel to Bateen village.
“The group took one day, riding donkeys for 30km of the journey.”
On this traditional ride, each member of the team was assigned a special responsibility. The team was led by Salem al Balushi and Traq al Hajri was the assistant leader while planning and mapping was done by Fahr al Farsi.
“The team plans well before embarking on any trip. The site for the adventure trip is chosen after much deliberation and research. A team is also sent to study the place and the weather conditions in advance. We are also careful when choosing how many people can be taken for a particular trip,” said Balushi.
“The trip included several activities such as fencing with sticks, reciting poems – Aazi, which embodies the originality of the past with popular songs. Donkeys carried various supplies and goods while all the participants carried safety equipment, tents, water, beverages and canned food. Care was taken to ensure that all participants adhered to health measures, such as social distancing and wearing masks, to avoid the spread of COVID-19,” said Balushi.
Participants of the journey recalled the struggles and sufferings of their ancestors who traversed different terrains, fighting adverse weather conditions in summer and winter. “We hope that COVID-19 ends, so we can continue to make more trips to promote archaeological sites and the natural splendour of Oman.”