Jekyll Island Beach 2012

Jekyll Island Beach 2012
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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

QAT


The Rogue Speaks

Lunchtime has finally arrived after a long hard morning at work. You and your friends gather to enjoy a delicious noon-day repast. Your meal may begin with a relish made with chilies, pepper, cardamom, caraway, fresh coriander and garlic, along with some lahuh to dip and scoop up the relish.

Your main dish may be salta, a thick and spicy meat stew made with lamb or chicken with lentils, beans, chickpeas, coriander, fengreek and a few fiery spices. Ahhh! Wasn't that delicious??

Now for your beverage. How about a nice cup of qishr, made of coffee husks and ground ginger! Yum!!

Lunch is over and now it is time to go back to work. But wait! Look over there! Isn't that fellow selling qat?? Why, yes, I believe he is! We still have a few more minutes to spare, so let's go buy a few leaves!!!

Do you know where you are? You are in Yemen! And qat, a leafy narcotic, is the main agricultural crop!! Qat, when chewed, produces feelings of euphoria and stimulation. It has become a major cultural phenomenon and has created conflict over its production in Yemen and Somalia. Yemen is an extremely arid region, and water is a very scarce commodity. The Yemenis, however, prefer to use what little water they have to grow qat over food crops!!

Qat used to be a weekend recreational drug of choice, but has now become almost a daily ritual of social importance. Since the average family in Yemen makes around $700 a year, and qat chewing can cost as much as $20 a day, qat can really put a strain on the family budget.

Coffee used to be the largest crop in Yemen, but qat has replaced the coffee crops. This has been detrimental to Yemen's economy because it drains foreign investors.

It has been said that qat production has encouraged laziness and absenteeism on the job because workers go to lunch, chew some fresh-picked qat, and then take the rest of the day off. So maybe we should just skip the qat, and go back to work. No? Don't say I didn't warn you!!

When I am in my car, my radio is only tuned to one station--NPR. I get a lot of ideas from stories I hear on public radio, and even keep a little notebook handy to make a note of interesting news items. I heard the story of qat several months ago and knew I had to use it for Alphabe-Thursday. There are a lot of other interesting "Q" posts to be found at Jenny's blog, so hop on over!!!

p.s. I discovered a very interesting and artsy blog today, so if you have time, please scroll down to my Whimsical Wednesday post, and click on the link!

38 comments:

EG Wow said...

I'm so glad you're back from your holidays away. I look forward to your Alphabe-Thursday posts. Qat? I had never heard of it before. I knew Yemen is in major trouble economy-wise but didn't know they had this crop that could be contributing to the problem in a BIG way.

Barbara F. said...

Hi Judie, thanks for stopping by! Now this is a very interesting and unique post! I never heard of this qat before (is it pronounced like "cat"?) xo

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

How sad for those poor people who are already struggling. I know some young people who basically go from one hit to the next with pot. They don't care about jobs, or families or any of the things I cared about when I was young...

so sad...

Jo said...

This is such a sad situation ... truly sad ...

Stacia said...

What a fascinating sociology and economics lesson! I think I'll take the lentils and chickpeas over the qat, though. =>

Anonymous said...

This is so interesting. It makes me sad to think of what it is doing to the people in Yemen. Thanks for sharing.

noexcuses

Andy said...

I knew Yemen was a poor country, but I've never heard of qat until today. So sad that they'd prefer qat over life-saving water.
The meat stew sounds delicious though & the spices used can also be found in Indian cuisine.

Awesome post!

Thanks for the visit too.

Judie said...

Qat is pronounced like cot. I think someone asked about that.

Jo said...

You are so much fun!...got to love your choice of "Q" words.
~Jo

JJ said...

Judie: That is Quite and interesting post.

Ames said...

Very interesting Judie. I can always count on you for something truly informative. Unlike my silliness,sometimes I digress. Ok so I do it a lot. I did't know squat about qat, uh I mean I didn't know what qat was. Great job!~Ames

Wanda said...

I had never heard of qat before. Thanks for an informative post.

mom2kiddos said...

What an interesting post. I learnt something new today - qat. It's sad what the yemenis are doing to themselves.

PⒿ @ $ € € ₦$ ₣®0₥... said...

This was extremely interesting, Judie! A great reminder of how blessed we are in this country....and how I prefer a pb&j and some lemonade for my lunch!

Theresa Plas said...

Great "Q" Post Judie! Another new word to file in my brain. I wondered if you were vacationing in this place when I first began reading your post. Now I think I'll google Yemen to see exactly where it is and check out your artsy blog recommendation. HappY Alphabe-Thursday!

JDaniel4's Mom said...

I learn a lot from NPR too.

sm said...

interesting post

THE SNEE said...

I'm sort of surprised that I've never heard of Qat before. It seems like it would have qat on quickly here given the priorities of our culture too these days. Maybe the marijuana industry has a lobby against Qat.

Thanks for quing me in on this Judie. I'm always a bit wiser and sometimes punnier when I leave here.

askcherlock said...

If I lived in Somalia or Yemen I might look for Qat too. Might as well have some state of euphoria while you watch your children die of starvation in the dessert. It is a wretched situation with little hope for improvement.

Coralie Cederna Johnson said...

Really fascinating Q word. Thanks for sharing this!
Hugs,
Coralie

Sue said...

Qat sounds a lot like pot. (Assuming it's pronounced the way I'm guessing it is.)

I had never heard of it. Trust you to come up with the unique!

=)

Karen S. said...

Oh yes, this Qat would go nicely with this song of choice you selected, what an incredibly high and wonderful post! Thanks for mentioning Whimsical Wednesday, I sure hope he keeps the blog going! Have a great weekend ....! Mine begins right now...with a day trip tomorrow...to a nearby dreamy town!

ChrisJ said...

Lunch sounds great, but sad about the addiction.

Judie said...

Of course qat is illegal in the U.S. And unlike pot, the effects can only be had from chewing FRESH qat.

Sarah said...

That's very interesting. Sounds like it's a bad idea to swap coffee with qat, so they really should quit the qat out of it!

Mari Sterling Wilbur said...

I had no idea - quite the phenomenon! I wonder how many travelers go to Yemen for qat? I wonder if the airports, etc. have qat detection dogs? Very interesting post.

Personalized Sketches and Sentiments said...

Oh! You do have the most interesting posts :o) Hm...never heard of qat until now and it is sad to hear that qat is often more sought after or thought of for the use of water than food crops.

Blessings & Aloha!
And you are tooo, tooo sweet! I think that you could definitely make a cathedral windows quilt :o) (Also, our son was home this past week and while watching a tv commercial, I excitedly told him that one of my blog friends was the childhood girlfriend of the Oceanspray cranberry star! :o) ...I think that is so awesome :o)

siggiofmaine said...

Thank you for all the information that I never knew....there is so much I have to learn about the world I live in.

☮ ♥ Siggi in Downeast Maine

Amanda said...

I didn't know this either but I can understand why they do it, even though I don't consider it a solution.

Gattina said...

Very interesting post ! but this qishr drink sounds not so good to me ! Here they drink Whisky or Wodka to have some fun why not Quat. Alcohol is also a drug.

Judie said...

Gattina, there is no "u" in qat. And you are right--alcohol can also be a "drug of choice."

Keri said...

I love Middle Eastern culture, but I've never heard of Qat before. You definitely found a unique Q word!

Pondside said...

Very interesting - and I'd never heard of Qat. What a great Q choice! So sad that it is the crop of choice in a part of the world in famine.

Tammy said...

I always learn such interesting things here! And the accompanying song, "Girl with Kaleidoscope Eyes" is so apropos!

cj Schlottman said...

Judie, You should have been a teacher! (Were/are you)? I learned a great deal from this post. Never her of Qat. It's also a very timely reminder of all those in the world who needlessly suffer from hunger, disease and homelessness.

Thanks for this one.

Namaste..........cj

Strange said...

I listen to NPR a lot, myself! You sure do find out a lot about the world from NPR news!!
Great Q post!

Jenny said...

This was a fascinating post, Miss Judie! I have never heard of any of these things! There are days when I wish I did have some Qat, but I suspect it would be wickedly dangerous.

Thanks for quite a fasincating link this week.

As always, I learn so much from you!

Hugs and

A+

myorii said...

How interesting! I've never heard of Qat before but now I know what it is in case I ever hear it in conversations (not that I would, I think). I wonder if there are any negative side effects from chewing too much Qat though. It really is a pity that people in Yemen choose Qat over growing food and other necessities. I guess that's the one problem with drug addictions....your priorities all go out the window! Great Q post!

P.S. I'm working through my blog reading backlog, which is why I'm commenting on this post so late...