x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

The Ali Story: Why UAE rain is worth remembering.

In this serialised feature, Ali Al Saloom shares his insight and experiences from growing up in the UAE

Rain, rain and more rain.How blessed were we when the strong winds arrived surrounding the whole country and it started raining like a bomb that went off. Masha'Allah, it was really a great amount of rain pouring over us in the whole country and, of course, it inspired me to share with you how rain, even today, is perceived among many "Emiratis".

In the 1980s, during my childhood, I remember that we had much more rain compared with today. We had a tradition - and I believe many Emirati families still abide by it - that, if it rained, the whole family gathered at their grandfather's house, or at least the main house where everyone gathered every Friday, and what they did was to prepare themselves to head towards the desert. So if you were in Abu Dhabi, you would drive toward Al Samha, Suwaihan or, of course, the legendary Liwa Oasis. If you were in Al Ain, then you would be pretty much in the best place ever when it rained, because it's already all green and with mountains, so the valleys get full of water, and people can enjoy all of that scenery. If you were in Dubai or Sharjah, you'd have anywhere between Badayer desert to Al Fayah desert - great open desert areas with lots of dunes and plenty of room for everyone to camp for the day and, sometimes, overnight.

Rain actually brings us together - not to the inside but to the outside. And here I mean that Arabs, especially Arabian Gulf people, would actually go under the rain when it rains and not worry about getting sick, because we simply love the rain. You know why right? You guessed it. It's simply because we just miss it and don't get enough of it. So we don't mind going out and enjoying the rain hitting our faces and heads, even if it carries lots of sand like the latest weather we had here in the country.

Although it was a sandstorm that carried the clouds and rain, which again brought more sand to hit the whole country, I believe that's very healthy. You ask me "How come?" Well, let me share with you what my father explained to me once: "Son, never complain about sandstorms, no matter how bad they are. You see, there are tons of various bacterias, diseases that can kill human beings from even a fly's eggs, hence the storm comes so strongly and it gets rid of such potential danger for us humans.

"God also helps the planet to keep its balance. Some species would die during this tough time of strong winds, but at the same time, it helps people to stay alive, because when the wind blows this strong it carrys seeds such as for palm trees, which are usually carried by birds when they fly from one tree to another. The winds helps in this process to help reproduce trees.

"Son, in everything there are ups and downs, hence we always say 'Alhamdulilah' for everything."

Despite the strong sandstorm that hit us lately, rain came along with it and many creatures benefited from this. Expect a beautiful, green scenery along all of the country's highways for a while. You will notice how this sandstorm and rain were beneficial for our nature and for us as well. Alhamdulilah.