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Old Saudi lives inside car in desert for 16 years

Riyadh, Feb 11 (Emirates 24X7): In summer, old Abdul Rahman Jamaan soaks inside his rusting car in the heart of the scorching Saudi desert. In winter, he shuts the car windows, cowers inside dirty torn blankets and begins his war against the biting cold until he falls asleep.

Jamaan, in his late 60s, has been through this saga for more than 16 years although his country is the top oil exporter and home to a quarter of the world’s oil wealth. Because of poverty and loss of family, his car has become his home and the desert his world.
When he was young and married, his wife turned to be infertile, so he got another wife. When he had a son, his delight was short lived as the baby died after two years.
When his wife died, he turned to his three brothers for solace but after a few years, they all passed away, leaving behind adult children who did not want to see him.
Yet, Jamaan refused to give up and collapse under this deluge of tragedies. Nor did he allow himself to beg for help although hunger began biting into his stomach.
Jamaan had been paid SR2,000 pension a month before his pension card was legally seized by a camel owner who sold him five camels and did not get all his money. Two camels later died of hunger as Jamaan could hardly feed himself.
Living on bread brought by friendly villagers and milk from his three feeble camels, Jamaan has become accustomed to the car as his home and the desert as his world.
He suffers daily from pain, hunger, cold, wilderness and loneliness but they have also become part of his life. More than 16 years ago, Jamaan was strong enough to move around and withstand pain but not anymore.
Jamaan lives in the lifeless desert south of the northwestern town of Hail and as the days pass, he feels weaker. His waning body has become more vulnerable to the scorching summer sun and pinching desert winter cold at night. And because of this, Jamaan now feels that it is time to seek help.
When he first moved to the desert, he was strong enough to tidy up his shabby car house and organize his lonely life. He was also wandering far away to get palm wood to light a fire during the cold winter nights. But not anymore.
“I live on bread brought by some good people…I get milk from my three camels who also give me company in my lonely life although I can hardly now feed them..I’m afraid I might lose them soon….two months ago, one man brought me an extra blanket…it was ripped but gave me some warmth,” Jamaan said with tears in his eyes.
“In winter, when night comes, I wrap myself with the blankets, shut the car windows and try to sleep…I shiver for a long time before I fall asleep and wake up again….I used to get wood for a fire almost every day but now I am too old to do this…I am getting older and life is getting more difficult and crueler,” he told Alhayat newspaper.

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Comment on this article

  • Rizwan , Mangalore/ surinje

    Tue, Apr 2 2013

    Many of the islamic person love to live life in simple, they not loved to be rich, even through they have full of wealth..
    We have many examples of our leaders like abu bakr (ra) Umar (ra) usman (ra) ali (ra) etc.. Being a califa (king) they lived very simply life .. They choosen to be poor..

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  • Rihan, DXB

    Tue, Feb 12 2013

    Feel very sorry for this man.Its like having butter in hand looking for ghee...Saudi govmnt does every best for its citizen no doubt in that,but this man need a proper guidance to achieve that.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • saleem koyar, addoor

    Tue, Feb 12 2013

    this is not a question of poverty or rulers negligence.saudi govt is giving more fecilities to saudi nations.but in this case they cant change any ones personal hobbies or tribal culture.if u travell thru the desert you can see many badhus living like the same as jamaan.its their hobby and these people are very happy to live like tribes.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • Sachidanand Shetty, Mundkur/Dubai

    Tue, Feb 12 2013

    Saudi Rulers give Refuge status to many Islamic Leaders from all over the World but not noticed this person difficulty in their own Country? How Sad?

    DisAgree [5] Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • Evans Christopher Sumitra, Udupi/New York, USA

    Tue, Feb 12 2013

    It is hard to believe but one has to believe. This Saudi guy living in such a tattered condition and yet has survived all these years. Maybe he is a stubborn man and has his own way of living. There are many such Jamaans who live like this.

    DisAgree [1] Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • Rohan, Mangalore

    Mon, Feb 11 2013


    DisAgree [1] Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • Ganesh, mangalore

    Mon, Feb 11 2013

    pls. help and save innocent man.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • madman, Bangalore

    Mon, Feb 11 2013

    Very strange - the news paper interviewed him, did not say if they helped him with new blankets\clothes\food\water etc or offered their help to rehabilitate him.

    I also wonder how he managed for water for so many years - for drinking and for other things.

    At least now after the N\paper publishes in Saudi papers govt. or some kind person will help him out

    May God protect and take care of this person.  May be he is not too far away from some people living in the desert - as he mentioned receiving bread from them.

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  • Preci, shirva/dubai

    Mon, Feb 11 2013

    Unbelieveable. In Saudi this is happening. There is a strict law for everything in Saudi. What about this? What the Govt. doing? Can somebody bring to their notice this type of suffering.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [16] Reply Report Abuse

  • Amin Bhoja, Patte / Riyadh

    Mon, Feb 11 2013

    A true life story of Jamaan and there are many more Jamaans will follow the same story too!.Sometime it is true that' All that Glitters are not Gold'.

    DisAgree [3] Agree [29] Reply Report Abuse

  • Ismail Shaikh, Moodbidri/Dubai

    Mon, Feb 11 2013

    Sad story of this old man. But I wonder why & how the camel owner seized (legally-what does it mean?) his pension card which is alloted legally by Govt.can not be revoked unless he who may be a bogus pensioner by concerned authorities.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [10] Reply Report Abuse

  • Ashi, Mangalore

    Mon, Feb 11 2013

    Nothing special in this news. In India millions of people living without shelter even trillions of rupees in Swiss bank...!

    DisAgree [9] Agree [112] Reply Report Abuse

  • John Tauro, M'lore / Kwt

    Mon, Feb 11 2013

    The country may boast of its vast oil wealth, equality and justice. But in reality one can see young Saudi women begging in Kuwait, probably abandoned by their husbands. There are many illiterate poor Saudi men doing menial jobs. In fact there is a very wide gap between the rich and poor in Saudi Arabia.

    DisAgree [14] Agree [40] Reply Report Abuse

  • Asif, Mangalore

    Mon, Feb 11 2013

    Its really sad and heartbreaking story in such a rich country which has given and giving life for so many people....

    DisAgree [5] Agree [32] Reply Report Abuse

  • Patrick Saldanha, Mumbai

    Mon, Feb 11 2013

    this is the reality of Gulf states..there are hundreds like Jamaan..once i met a young woman living alone in saudi desert while we were doing T& D projects for Saudi Electricity..She was from Gulbarga..spoke Kannada & Urdu..married a old saudi..who has put her in desert camp to look after his sheep & camel..her husband would visit her once a fortnight..She was so happy to see us and speaking to her in Kannada..and reading her letters written to her by her parents , since she was illiterate...

    DisAgree [4] Agree [103] Reply Report Abuse

  • R.Bhandarkar, M'Lore

    Mon, Feb 11 2013

    Raho Kahin Par
    Aakhir Jaana Hai Khabar
    Karo Kuch Achha Magar
    Tha Kee Yaadgar Rahen Safar........

    DisAgree [5] Agree [42] Reply Report Abuse

  • Wilfred Tauro, Madanthyar,Dubai

    Mon, Feb 11 2013

    Nice and true story. Country is very rich, but if you go just 5kms out of Riyadh City Limit or any city, you can see people are in poverty and staying in dilapidated old houses.

    DisAgree [5] Agree [93] Reply Report Abuse

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