Our tough as nails but kind, capable and fun all female team of Guides had a blast leading 60 ladies from 24 nationalities from Abu Dhabi to Al Ain on the adventure of a lifetime.
It was a gruelling, 120km journey across the dunes on foot, taking five days and four nights under canvas. The “Sand Sisters”, annually embark on this challenging trek to recreate the historical, seasonal Emirati migration between the two cities that was carried out by tribes not so long ago. Escape Events were delighted to deliver the pre-trip Training and the Guiding during the challenge for the second year in a row.
It is much more than just a physical journey between 2 cities. The experience is filled with personal growth and cultural immersion. The event's founder Jody Ballard, an American author and clinical counsellor, brought a strong wellness component to the experience promoting debate and contemplation with a focus on participant health and wellness, strength and leadership, and community building.
Her Emirati partner, Asma Sedeeq Al Mutawa is a prominent advocate of Emirati literature and culture who together with the support of the Department of Culture and Tourism -Abu Dhabi, shed light during the walk on the culture and heritage of the UAE. We were blessed with extraordinary activities which included a discussion about the book Words of the Leader Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, a falconry display, lectures on astronomy, the Emirati Burqa, Saluki (greyhound dogs), desert sands and more. Dr. Sheikha Shamma Bint Mohammed Bin Khalid Al Nahyan, Chairperson of the Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khaled Al Nahyan Cultural Centre, also visited the camp where she delivered an impactful speech on desert traditions, social cohesion and the value of tolerance between people
All of this is often described by the Sand Sisters as a life-changing adventure. Since its inception in 2015, over 250 women have participated, including many from other countries. This year, six ladies from abroad joined the Walk. In fact our Guides come from 5 countries between the 6 of us.
The patronage of Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Tolerance cemented this event's important place in the cultural landscape of the UAE. The sixth Women’s Heritage Walk came to a close on February 4 at a ceremony held at the Cultural Foundation, in the presence of participants and their families.
In his speech, Sheikh Nahyan reflected on the essence of the Walk. “For me, as the Minister of Tolerance, this walk embodies the very best of human fraternity. This journey has led all participants to meet a great number of wonderful people. It has enabled all of you to know one another at a deeper level. You have overcome challenges together. Walking together, in conversation and in silence, motivating and encouraging one another, you have built a strong and diverse community of women. That community is an inspiration to all of us.”
Our Guides were a valued part of that community and we are extremely proud of our team.