“Objects placed next to each other take on metaphorical weight as he narrates the way around the garden. Pointing to an inverted faucet, he said it represented the craziness of life in Yemen, where people flee their homes without even wearing proper shoes. ‘They leave their flip-flops and they walk just like mad people. Why? Because the life in my country is exactly almost like this shape,” he said, pointing to the faucet. “Upside down.’

Bashraheel is in his mid-sixties, and was once a road surveyor in Yemen. As a young man, he finished the equivalent of middle school when Aden was still a British colony. After training to be a surveyor, he began working for international companies involved in construction projects throughout Yemen. When his part of Aden became embroiled in the recent conflict, Bashraheel, who does not have a wife or children, fled, with only the clothes he was wearing, on a boat carrying refugees to Djibouti.”

Read the article by Nicolas Niarchos in The New Yorker.