Finding Frankincense from Yemen to Somalia
I took a trip into the mountains on Socotra Island looking for the sweet myrrh. Socotra is an island off the coast of Yemen. This is a Boswellia elongata frankincense tree. And you can see, I’m a tree lover. I just have to get right up there and be part of the tree and study the bark. Marc shot this picture when I was climbing down.
On Yemen’s Homhill Plateau we were looking at the different frankincense trees. We found Boswellia socotrana and Boswellia elongata, two of the seven species that grow only on this island and nowhere else.
Many of you know I made a journey into the Forbidden Zone in Yemen; and as of today, I was the first and only foreigner to be allowed beyond the military zone, or the Forbidden Zone as they call it, in 42 years. And I took troops with me to protect them.
This photo was from my trip last November to Somalia. I was there 10 days altogether looking for Boswellia frereana, 3 days trying to get out. It was kind of an interesting experience, one that everybody should have, because the thing it will do for you, if you have an experience like I did while I was there, is it will make you appreciate your life. And it will make you reevaluate your life, and ask yourself many, many questions. Of all of my journeys, this was one of the most intense and difficult, but in many ways one of the most rewarding ones as well.
I had 12 soldiers that were dispatched by the president of Somalia to guard and protect me. We did have a skirmish in the airport with Al Shabat’s people. Master Sergeant Johnson is here at convention, he can tell you about that. But anyway, it was a shootout, one person was killed, two were wounded. But I was able to get on a plane and make a journey to the next city, and then there was another experience.