It’s almost an anomaly, the rose harvest in Oman. Instead of a scorched, levelled habitat, Friday’s photographer, Silvia Baron, found verdant terraces of rose bushes, freckled with pink blooms.
The rose growers are also farmers who grow crops such as garlic, onion and fruits including pomegranate. Many do not own land, but lease it from others.
Only pink roses are grown and harvested in this northern region of the country.
For Silvia, the journey helped her discover an area of the country that she had previously only heard of. She says, “Even though my interaction with the rose growers and their families was limited, I wished I spoke their language to understand their lives better.”
Muna Ritchie, partner in the Omani Heritage Gallery in Jibroo, Oman, says, “It is an initiative by the Omani Public Authority for Craft Industries.” The mission of the non-profit gallery is to preserve and promote Oman’s living heritage and culture. “This is not the usual clear rose water purchased in Iran or Turkey, but a smoky variety used for medicinal and culinary purposes.”
The rose growers, including Fatima Sulaiman Khamis, plucked roses, gathered them in bundles, and returned to their humble mud and stone homes.