The first time I met Um Rabbia was when I was hiking through the Sinai with a Bedouin guide.
One night, when we were talking about the position of women in the Bedouin society and the limited freedom they enjoy, he told us about a remarkable woman who lived in the desert without a husband, an uncle or even a brother to look after her and how unusual this was. Our group decided to make a detour to visit her.
A year later I returned to the Sinai to spend a week with Um Rabbia and her family to write a story about her life in the desert for a woman’s magazine. When I gave Um Rabbia the photo I took of her the first time, she surprised me by hugging me and kissing me on the cheek.
Later that week, I asked her to pose for a portrait. When she came out of her tent she was carrying the photo I had given her. I was setting up my camera when all of sudden Um Rabbia’s young camel appeared. His name was Khashm, which means nose. The camel was given this name because he was very nosy. I quickly took a photo which later turned out to be the best shot.