The oil rich area of Southern Iraq is normally associated with arid desert.
But a short drive from the bare infertile plains, which contain the huge oils fields, lies an incredible wetland ecosystem called the Iraqi Marshes.
The area, supplied by its water from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, was originally 20,000 km2, but under the presidency of Saddam Hussain – in an attempt to find more oil and reprisals for uprising by its Shi’a inhabitants – is now only 10% of its original size.
The hospitality of the indigenous peoples that I meet on my travels never ceases to amaze me, and this was no exception.
The Marsh Arabs’ willingness to share their food and meagre provisions, a true example of their simple but honest way of life.
Not far where I drank my chai, men prepared for battle. Their objective – to kill of be killed.
But for a couple hours that afternoon, I was transported to a bye gone age where customs took precedence over all else.
The creed of these simple people who’s ancestors – the ancient Sumerians – had moved the the area of thousands of years before, to protect their guests no matter what their differences where.