The first day of the build was today. That’s what we’ve all worked so hard for over the past six months. Several of the teammebers arrived in Jordan a few days early to spend a little time looking around. I have to admit that I have fallen in love with this country and its people. They are some of the nicest and sincerest people I’ve ever met in all of my travels.
Friday we went down to Petra, one of the seven wonders of the world. We hiked all the way to the Monestary and back — about 18 kilometers total. On the way we stopped at a few markets for water, etc., and got a chance to meet the shopkeepers. During the awkward stage of tranacting business with limited language skills on either side, the question always relayed was, “Where are you from.” When we’d disclose our various nationalities, the United States citizens always got a hearty welcome. We made a stop in the middle of the desert and talked to a Bedouin camel herder. He was super nice and oversaw about 100 camels. Two of them ran off across the road and into the distance. We helped him herd them back to the rest of the camels, then we got some pics. Then he hit us up for some money for the pleasure of his time (even though we helped him herd his runaway camels). Two Jordanian Dinars was enough to satisfy him.
We went to Petra for the day. Of course we had to ride a camel. Never take the first price offered. We haggled the price fom 25 Jordanian Dinars to just four JD for a camel ride from The Treasury to the steps of the Monestary. This saved us about 45 minutes of time, but it was still another 1.5 hours to the top of the Monestary steps. Overall it was a long but rewarding day.
Saturday the team gathered for dinner and to begin the official start of the build. Sunday we drove to the worksite and began the build. There’s no time to waste. A little orientation, then it was right to work. We found our groove right away. About five times during the day we are served a very sweet, hot, minty tea. Despite working in the heat, it’s very refreshing. We are working literally next door to a mosque, and after being in Jordan since last week, I can now tell the time of day by the call to prayer.
We took a little tour of the area and visited a few homes of previous Habitat builds. One homeowner invited us all in for a break. She couldn’t speak a word of English, but we somehow communicated. For dinner we were invited into a local home. We ate outside in the courtyard under a grape vine, sitting on mats in traditional Arab culture.
Sorry this post is so short, but I’ve been much busier than I planned. I hope to get more posts up tomorrow, covering a range of topics.