Join us on the journey
Yemen is known for political turmoil, armed conflict and a large humanitarian crisis. But beneath the headlines lie an ancient country and culture, incredibly rich in traditions, hospitality and resilience. From the mountainous highlands, where Yemen’s traditional gingerbread houses rise to the sky overlooking valleys of coffee and fruit terraces, to the coastal plains where fishermen stem out in their small fishing dhows, bringing back large tunas, shrimps and crabs from the rich blue waters that surround it, Yemen is a country largely living, producing and breathing as it has for centuries.
A country isolated and difficult to access, artisans and farmers in Yemen are largely unable to present and sell their unique products to an international audience. And not only are they missing out on an opportunity to sell their products and generate an income, but the world is also missing out on the opportunity to taste and view Yemen’s unique flavors and handcrafts. And this is exactly why we have established The Yemen Journey. To take you with us on a journey, from the isolated mountain villages producing some of the world’s best coffee, to the green Tihama coastal plains, where women weave their hopes and dreams into beautiful baskets. From the buzzling silver Souq in old Sana’a, where artisans create contemporary designs out of antique silver pieces, to the mountain of Razih, where handcrafters carve out stone and shape it into natural cooking tools.
With ports and airports shut, the journey does not stop at these villages and coastal plains, it only just started. In a quest to bring Yemen’s handcrafts and agricultural products to an international audience, each item has to travel over land for days, crossing desserts, frontlines and steep mountain roads, where bridges have been destroyed, before finally reaching the border of neighbouring countries. Only from here can they be taken on their onwards journey to the world.
The Yemen Journey works directly with farmers and artisans, to ensure full transparency and fair payments. Behind each of our products lies a search, a journey and a story. A story of a farmer who works hard to grow some of the world’s best specialty coffee beans on his mountain terraces, without much in terms of water, agricultural machines or education. But instead relying on knowledge passed down generation by generation of living in, and growing the land, and making coffee plants thrive in this particular soil, at this particular altitude. Or a story of a woman who has lost her husband, and is weaving palm leaves into baskets, that not only provides a survival for her and her children, but also brings hopes of a better life, a better future. Or the artisans of Old Sana’a, who struggle to find both materials and customers for their unique brass lanterns, but refuse to stop producing them, as an ancient handcraft would then get lost. It is our mission to honour these stories, by ensuring that each product is valued for the stories they tell, as well as their quality and distinctiveness.
Searching for and finding the artisans and farmers, is sometimes like searching for a lost ring in a large ocean. Each one isolated in their particular village, or mountain hill, often far away from roads and modern telecommunication, we have made it our mission to not give up, but instead give hope. Give hope to the coffee farmer, the woman weaving the basket and the silversmith, that their extraordinary products have an international audience. That people in countries, they might never have heard off, will buy and cherish their uniqueness and all the hard work and dreams that went into creating these.
So join us on the journey and let us together bring hope to Yemen, by bringing its beauty and flavours to the world. We look forward to you joining our journey.