By Tamjid Alkohali
Despite the lack of swimming pools in Yemen in either rural or urban areas, many Yemenis swim very well because of swimming in natural swimming pools, such as lakes, dams and ponds.
Artificial lakes are considered a good means of entertainment and sports in rural communities. A lot of people confirmed that ponds evoke beautiful memories and sometime they go rural areas to swim in them.
In Thula where there are tens of lakes, Akram 16-years-old, says that most locals in the village go to lakes surrounded by fruit trees for swimming, hiking, picking fruit, and having fun. “I used to go there with my relatives and friends since childhood. When I grew up I learned how to swim in the lake, especially in the morning when the water is cool from the summer heat,” Akram said.
Akram added that swimming in lakes is a habit practiced by people on a daily basis. Some ponds are characterized by very useful minerals. “Sometimes swimming can be at night under the moonlight after a beautiful evening with friends.”
The popularity of lakes has increased in wedding celebrations as well in the rainy and agriculture seasons, while the weather is cool and the lakes are full of fresh water. “Lakes are also very suitable for competing in swimming and archery because the place is very wide and safe,” Akram said.
Lakes are found in many places around Yemen, and some are considered archaeological sites such as the al-Hgar lake in Hababah city, which dates back a thousand years. Al-Hgar lake was made by people to retain rainwater. It is considered the biggest lake in Hababah, where there are more than 32.
There are also lakes that form as a result of volcanic eruptions. People have benefited from them to collect water, clean clothes, and bath. Now they are mostly for fun and sport.