The sixth Women’s Heritage Walk (WHW) came to close on February 4, after 60 women from 24 nationalities hiked the 120 km journey from Abu Dhabi to Al Ain on foot over five days. The “Sand Sisters” annually embark on this challenging trek to recreate the historical, seasonal Emirati migration between the two cities, undertaken by tribes not so long ago.
The WHW not only sheds light on the culture and heritage of the United Arab Emirates, but also focuses on participant health and wellness, strength and leadership, and community building. This multi-faceted journey is often described by Walkers as a life-changing adventure. Since its inception in 2015, over 250 women have already participated, including many from other countries. This year, six women from abroad joined the Walk.
"This experience is something that you’ll always remember, as you really become a team with your fellow Walkers. I did the Walk because I’m moving from the UAE, and I thought it was fantastic to have the opportunity before I left to engage with the culture and heritage of the UAE, learning firsthand how the Bedouins lived,” said Swedish participant Eva Hallberg, 59, who completed the Walk this year.
The Walk is organised by Jody Ballard, the founder, and Asma Sedeeq Al Mutawa, a prominent advocate of Emirati literature and culture who focuses on volunteer work that serves the community.
2020 is the first time that this experience will be open to men. The pilot edition of the Men’s Heritage Walk will begin on Friday, 7 February 2020, led by Emirati Hamad Ghanim. Like the women, the men will embark on a five-day adventure filled with personal growth and cultural immersion.