Bedouin Days

The Bedouin Village, located just outside of Petra is a dirty, smelly town full of donkeys, camels and bare-footed children kicking up storm clouds of dirt and dust as they run through the streets. Amidst all the grime and chaos, live the legendary Bedouin.

I had the unique privilege of spending three days with the Bedouin, receiving first-hand experience of their long-standing culture and way of life. The highlight, besides sleeping in a cave in the middle of Petra’s mountain range, was undoubtedly the night I spent inside the home of a Bedouin family to share a home-cooked dinner with them. The family was incredibly generous and kind. Although the family seemed to be of little means, they fed me a feast of lentil soup and a dish of “upside-down chicken” served in a massive platter over a heaping mound of aromatic rice.

Bedouin chicken dinner

The family and I ate out of the massive platter together, topping each spoonful of rice and chicken with a saucy tahini vegetable salad. The meal was absolutely delicious.

I felt a little guilty for eating this family’s food but they kept insisting that I eat as much as I could and I soon felt guilty for not graciously accepting their hospitality by eating more!

The children were a lovely bunch. We couldn’t communicate well as my knowledge of Arabic is severely limited to salaam and shookran (hello and thank you), just as their English was limited in kind, but we took many pictures, walked around hand in hand and played with their neighbor’s camels. The children took a wild fancy to my stick-straight hair and couldn’t keep their hands out of it all night.

Everything seemed to fascinate them about me

The kids even took me to meet their neighbor next door. And his camel!

I was nervous the camel would spit on me

My days here were an eye-opener to the Bedouin lifestyle and I am forever grateful to all those who shared their lives with me and helped to make my Bedouin days so memorable.

The sparse interior of a Bedouin cave located in the middle of Petra’s mountains

© Connie Hum 2009

Categories: Jordan

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