My name is Jacob Habib and I’m majoring in Film& Media Studies and learning Arabic at Loyola. I got the chance to spend three wonderful days in Jordan, in Wadi Rum and Petra, as a connection to my family’s religious pilgrimage trip to Palestine as we were following in the footsteps of the Bible. Please stay tuned to my next blog on Biblical sites in Palestine!
Experiencing Wadi Rum was one of the most memorable moments of my life. I think this is the case because it was the first desert that I ever encounter. The vast space and scale was mind blowing; standing at the ledge looking over the desert and watching a truck drive through this massive landscape. It was just so amazing to drive through valleys and watch as the cliff walls got bigger and bigger. No better than walking through the desert on the backs of camels which was once again a first for me. I can’t imagine such journeys across historical contexts of old days!
My time walking to Petra was extremely interesting; to step back into older history and learn about it. It was breathtaking to observe Petra. As you walk to Petra there are waterways that were carved into the ravine walls that at the time would bring fresh water into the city. This watering system struck me as complicated and marvelous making me reflect on how those people created all these amazing structures. I learned that they would have been carved from the top to the bottom of the rocky mountainous structure.
It was also very interesting to walk up to Petra because you walk through a narrow split in the wall that then opens up to the face of Petra; The Rose Red Magnificent structure. It was also interesting to hear the current issues of the location. Our tour guide told us that tourists were taking small souvenirs from the inside which caused the government there to close the building to people. In short, Petra was so cool and humbling to learn about!
Finally on our last night at Wadi Rum, we had a fun hangout with the workers there. Even though there was a clear language barrier, that night was one of my favorite moments because it really showed us just how much joy these people had in their life no matter what language, faith, or race they belong to. We ended up dancing the night away and eating more food than we could handle. We had a very small conversation with them after. We were able to hear some of their stories and know them at a more personal level. Most of the workers live and work in Wadi Rum so they end up not seeing their family for long extended times. They explained to us that they find joy in what they do because it’s a generational pride. I found that even though we were only there for a short time I loved every moment of it and I can’t wait to go.
Next, we journeyed into Palestinian areas and biblical pilgrimage sites. I’ll share with you soon!