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San'a, the old city of the capital made up of alleys and souks It has been declared among the sites protected by UNESCO.
Pictured: Qat market, the same sellers spend their time chewing on qat. During chewing, which can last up to several hours, a special technique must be adopted as the leaves cannot be swallowed. As the chewing progresses, a small ball of dough is formed in the mouth that grows over time as new leaves are added from time to time. While the new leaves are chewed, push and hold the ball up against the cheek with a fairly complicated movement. As the years go by, the cheek tends to deform as the mass of qat that presses, sometimes assumes the size of a tennis ball.
The Qat is quite expensive and its regular use greatly affects the income of a family. The purchase and daily consumption of the Qat is a kind of "status symbol" in Yemen and continuously measures, in an official way, the standard of living of a family.
Yemen, January 2006


Photo Antonietta Baldassarre Insidefoto

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Antonietta Baldassarre
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San'a, the old city of the capital made up of alleys and souks It has been declared among the sites protected by UNESCO.<br />
Pictured: Qat market, the same sellers spend their time chewing on qat. During chewing, which can last up to several hours, a special technique must be adopted as the leaves cannot be swallowed. As the chewing progresses, a small ball of dough is formed in the mouth that grows over time as new leaves are added from time to time. While the new leaves are chewed, push and hold the ball up against the cheek with a fairly complicated movement. As the years go by, the cheek tends to deform as the mass of qat that presses, sometimes assumes the size of a tennis ball.<br />
The Qat is quite expensive and its regular use greatly affects the income of a family. The purchase and daily consumption of the Qat is a kind of "status symbol" in Yemen and continuously measures, in an official way, the standard of living of a family.<br />
Yemen, January 2006<br />
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Photo Antonietta Baldassarre Insidefoto