The Way of Kindness: Bedouin Hospitality in Damascus

Sean McLachlan
Syria, Damascus, Umayyad Mosque
Getty Images

The first thing I noticed about Abdullah was that he was dying. A large-framed, bony old Bedouin, he sat slumped in an armchair in the lounge of my hotel in Damascus, Syria. He always sat in the same chair. Sometimes he didn't leave it all day. His djellaba was worn but clean, and he wore a black-and-white checkered keffiyeh on his head despite the fact that I never once saw him go out into the sun.