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Msharf’s Article: Shooting Birds in Saudi Arabia

Article #2 in the ESL Student Life Stories Project, by Msharf from Saudi Arabia, age 24.

Saudi Arabian student

The author, on our class trip to Boston’s Science Museum

One day during the migration season in Saudi Arabia, nine of my friends and I went into the desert to hunt.

We woke up at five in the morning to distribute the work between us. First, we chose a boss for the group to settle any small disagreements that may come, though usually we agree.

Next, we prepared the hunting gear and stashed it in the four-wheel-drive cars.

The sun had not yet risen when we began to drive into the desert.

One hour away from Riyadh by car, we reached our destination and fixed our camp for the next three days. We began to unpack the food (rice, eggs, water, spices, and bread), the rugs (prayer rugs and everyday rugs), our snacks (chips, juice, and candy), a camera (which we used to take the photos in this article)… and a TV with a satellite and DVD player. Yes, we took a TV into the desert!

Then we made and drank Arabic coffee.

Saudi Arabia tent

The tents in the desert where the hunting group slept. The TV is inside!

We had arrived so early that it was still dark, so we took a thirty-minute pause to eat a small breakfast: dates, buttermilk, eggs, and tea.

When the sun began to rise, it was time to hunt! We climbed into two cars with our big rifles.

“When you see the trees,” said my friend, “don’t get out of the car. You must instead prepare for shooting.”

We lifted our weapons as our friend continued: “Put the gun barrel on your shoulder and be alert for safety. Focus on the birds with the rifle and be very careful that there are no people near the tree! After that… start shooting.”

Then my friend fired his gun into the birds in the trees.


One of the hunting rifles or “Shooting Irons” as our dictionary says

We began firing, too. As we shot, one car drove right, and the other car went left. Within a few hours, we had shot a large pile of birds.

In the afternoon, we came back to our camp to take a break and sleep. When we woke up, we made lunch from birds, rice and soup. All my friends helped the person cooking, and some cleaned the dishes to prepare. One friend cut tomatoes and green peppers. The bird lunch was delicious, and it smelled great!

After the lunch, my friends and I drank tea and discussed poetry. We slept early because for the next two days of hunting we would be waking up at five am.

I heard Saad say to Muhammad, “I am enjoying this trip so much!”

Birds from hunting

The pile of birds from one day of hunting, soon to be lunch…

In the desert you can really see nature: trees, sand, and animals. We people look so little under the big sky! You can hear the birds’ voices, the sound of air, and the shooting of guns. The weather is sunny all the time in the desert… and I love it there!

In the past, many men in Saudi Arabia depended on hunting because they did not have enough food. Nowadays, however, my friends and I love hunting because it helps us find patience and relaxation. It is such an enjoyable change to go from the city to the desert!

Lillie’s Note: Are you hungry yet? I like this article because it shows a sweet, friend-filled side of hunting: an activity which we in Boston are somewhat freaked out by. Please leave an encouraging (or politely shocked) comment for Msharf, stating your geographical location. Msharf worked hard on this article, and would love to hear from you!

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