Married to a Bedouin

Petra streets and tombs jordan by eva the dragon 2013

Leaving the Treasury behind, we followed a young, Jordanian couple.  Wearing city attire, they looked like tourists, not Bedouin.

I assumed they were newly-married since the man could not stop taking pictures of the young woman wearing hijab.  At the amphitheater, we caught up with them.  They asked us to take their photo together, and we did, insisting that they do all sorts of fun poses.

Across the street, I recognized the stall selling Marguerite’s book,  Married to a Bedouin.  A little higher than the road, it sat next to the WCs carved out of the red cliff.

Marguerite lived in Petra with her husband, Mohammed Abdallah Othman for twenty-four years.  After his death in 2002, she returned to Sydney where her family lived.  At the end of her book, she wrote,

I might go back and see if I can find a Petra I can live in without Mohammed…..Without Mohammed to hold me I am no longer married to a Bedouin and, despite all the things we have accumulated, I have become a nomad once again.

I pointed out the stall.  There, dressed in western clothes, was Marguerite!

We rushed towards her, gushing.

“We met you in Dubai.”

“We loved your presentation.”

“I’ve been reading your book.”

“What are you doing here?  Where are your children?”

“Where was your cave?”

When Marguerite smiled her gold tooth, a present from her father-in-law, gleamed.

Time healed her broken heart, and, once again, she found herself living with the Bdouls near Petra.  Her children were grown with families of their own.  No longer a nurse, she was a published author and “doing something fun” – creating jewelry.  Inspired by the Nabataen carvings, local women smithed the silver jewelry.  The Amarat Jewelry Workshop helped support eleven families.

As much as we wanted to talk, Marguerite was busy.  She only had seconds to entice the dusty, hot tourists walking by to either purchase a book or some earrings.  As we stood there, a Mexican, then a Greek tour group huddled around her stall as she said a few words to them in their own language.

Happy to support a fellow adventurer, mother and writer, I purchased a charm – the out-lawed goddess, al-Uzza.

al uzza by amarat jewelry

Al-Uzza, “The Powerful One”, was part of the original, Arabian goddess triade.  Some archaeologists say she was the Nabataen equivalent to Aphrodite, but, according to Barbara Walker, she  was older than that.   Marguerite strung my Uzza on a black, braided cord.

When you go to Petra you will find either Marguerite or her handsome son tending the shop.  Like the other vendors, at night, they shuttered their stand and, guarded by The Powerful One, everything stays where they left it.

To be continued….


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. beduwen
    Oct 28, 2013 @ 20:16:07

    Very cool! I remember Petra – what an amazing place, so full of history.


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