Before traveling to Djibouti and Yemen, I researched tying hijab via YouTube and did some practice as I hadn’t worn a hijab since my time in Tunisia two years earlier. On this trip, I wore a lot of different headscarves. I even cut off my hair to make surviving the heat easier (and to make it easier to fashion a hijab in the street if I needed to.) In Djibouti, most women wore colorful robes and scarves all of lightweight fabric. Some women wore Western attire, like the server in our coffeehouse who wore a short sleeved blouse and jeans.
I didn’t intend on covering in Djibouti, but the heat soon changed my mind. I had packed four scarves: a full-sized pashima, a thin pink small neck scarf, a silk polka dot scarf very narrow and also meant for the neck, and a blue and gold Ethiopian textile. I quickly discovered that venturing outside without a scarf increased how hot I felt. The scarf also protected me from my own perspiration.
So I wrapped a scarf around my head for my own comfort.
When we prepared for our journey to Yemen, I figured it was time to venture into hijab territory. The weather in Djibouti is so hot that I opted to use my two small scarves to make a hijab (one on the front of my head hiding my hair, tied in the back, and the second across the back, tied in the front.) I draped the pashima scarf over my shoulders just in case I needed more coverage.
The men at the reception desk complimented my look.
The next day in Yemen, I used the pashima more thoroughly with the pink scarf as my base hiding my hair. Our tour guide referred to my attempt as “respectful.” I used the pink scarf as the base to cover my hair. The photo of me with Mohammed on a rooftop in Sana’a was after I had to redrape my hijab after much walking. I don’t have any pins.
Mohammed presented us with scarves during our visit to the suq. So before we left Yemen, I freshened up my look with my final hijab of my journey.
Of course, we also visited the mosque where I had the opportunity to dress in all black like most of the Yemeni women.