Yerba Mate - Standard Issue For Syrian Soldiers And Rebels October 20 2013, 122 Comments
You wouldn't believe that about 70% of yerba maté exports go to Syria , in the middle east. According to an article written by Témoris Grecko (2013) in La Nacion, yerba maté is so treasured by Syrian rebels and soldiers that they steal each other's yerba supplies during weapon and ammunition raids.
Yerba maté is a South American hot beverage prepared like tea by steeping the dried leaves of the yerba maté tree in hot water, then sipped up using a straw with a filter attached to the end of it. Argentina is one of the world's largest producers of yerba maté, and are expected to process about 50 million tons of yerba mate in 2013. The effects of yerba maté are similar to that of chocolate and green tea with a vitamin B kicker.
The photo here is of a rebel soldier in the Free Syrian Army, who is having a maté break. According to Grecko (2013), mate is one of three choices on hot beverage menu in Syria among coffee and tea. Maté is typically prepared in a glass gourd in Syria, and the maté is generally not shared, but prepared for the individual, unlike in South America where it would be shared between a few friends.
La Nacion, En Siria, el mate es la bebida de la rebelión y un botín de guerra, by Témoris Grecko, 2013.
Photo: Témoris Grecko