Still in Israel, this was a scene from our tour of the Judean Desert. Along the way, we came to a cistern that the local Bedouin families use for water. This girl was watering her goats as we arrived. At least, that’s what she was trying to do until we got in her way. I felt a bit uncomfortable invading her space, but our tour guide clearly had no qualms. He just pulled up to the cistern, hopped out of the jeep and stepped onto the cistern blocking her access to the water entirely. The guide seemed entirely oblivious to her, almost like she didn’t exist.
She looks young to me – maybe 10 or 11 years old and yet, here she was managing a herd of goats on her own and apparently well out of sight of home. Maybe this seems normal for people raised on a farm, but for a lifetime city-dweller like me, she seemed old beyond her years.