Shijal ChudasamaJanuary 4, 2023

Yemen is anxiously anticipating the new year after several months of peace.

Yemen is anxiously anticipating the new year after several months of peace.

With conflict erupting in his native Yemen as 2022 got underway, Abdu believed there was only one way for him to make money and support his family.

The 25-year-old packed his things, departed Sanaa, Yemen, and moved toward the north.

Abdu sighed deeply as he recalled his trip to Saudi Arabia, Yemen's wealthier neighbor, which had also spent years carrying out airstrikes across Yemen in support of the government. "Out of desperation, I decided to travel there at the beginning of the year to find work," Abdu said.

Because he couldn't afford it, Abdu decided not to seek for a work visa. He chose to use smugglers, like many others, to travel the 12 hours to Khamis Mushait in southern Saudi Arabia.

"In the second week of January [2022], I landed there. I was hired as a shepherd. I also began receiving 1,500 Saudi riyals ($399 each month)," Abdu said

But barely three months had passed after Abdu's arrival in Saudi Arabia when his own predictions about how the year would turn out for Yemen were disproved.

A UN-sponsored ceasefire was reached in April between the Yemeni government and the Houthi rebels, who are linked with Iran and in charge of Sanaa and other significant population centers in the country's north. Saudi airstrikes also ceased. The war essentially subsided, became frozen, and temporarily vanished from view. To a relative extent, life got better.

Despite several violations, the ceasefire lasted for six months. The number of fuel ships coming into the Hodeidah port under Houthi control doubled. For the first time since 2016, commercial flights to and from Sanaa International Airport have resumed, allowing thousands of passengers—mostly patients and students—to travel abroad or return home.

Child fatalities related to violence decreased by 34%, while the number of displaced people was roughly cut in half, according to Save the Children.

It implied that Abdu was able to consider the improbable — the prospect that he might be able to flourish financially in Yemen — for the first time.

“I called my father after I heard the news of the ceasefire, and he was glad that fuel ships were going to arrive and that air attacks would stop,” Abdu recalled, explaining that for his father, a bus driver, the prospect of lower fuel prices and a more plentiful supply meant the chance to finally make more money.

Abdu has already returned to Yemen with his earnings of 12,000 Saudi Riyals ($3,191) from his work in Saudi Arabia. He intends to purchase a minibus, settle in Sanaa, and work with his father as a bus driver.

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