During our visit to Wadi Rum Alia undertook a Jordanian rite of passage. I suppose if Atef lets me give her Vegemite, which he considers the equivalent of poison, then I have to let him give Alia some foodstuffs that I definitely put in the category of “I’m not eating that……ever!”
But before Alia undertook that rite of passage she also undertook another one. Our Bedouin driver took us to a Bedouin camp, but not before we first stopped a young boy riding a donkey with his herd of goats and Alia got to “ride” the donkey.
Excuse the fingers in the mouth – teething!
The Bedouin camp was the real deal and it is amazing to see how the Bedouin still live. They tend their herd of goats, walking miles each day for the goats to graze in the desert.
Sitting inside the Bedouin Tent.
Their income comes from milking the goats and selling the milk as a fermented yoghurt and also jameed. Jameed is considered a Jordanian delicacy and like most delicacies it tends to be one that you really only appreciate if you are brought up with it. The fermented goats milk (yoghurt) is left to dry and salt is added until you are left with a dense yoghurt which is then rolled into balls and further left to dry until hardened. It is used to make Jordan’s national dish of Mansaf by reconstituting the rock hard balls of Jameed in water to make the yoghurt sauce which the meat is cooked in. It is also eaten as a snack by breaking small pieces off the hardened balls. I don’t enjoy the taste of the salty, extremely sour/fermented, chalky cheese, but I can say that I had at least tried it.
We were made to feel incredibly welcome by Um Ali and her boys and it is humbling how genuine their generosity and hospitality is. The mattress seating was pulled out and set up for us to sit on. They shared with us bowls of goats milk which had been milked that morning. It was around 3:30 in the afternoon when we were offered the bowls of milk and there is no refrigeration (no electricity) at the camp so the milk had been left to sit all day and ferment into the yoghurt drink. It’s an acquired taste and I’m not a huge fan.
But Alia loved it. She couldn’t get enough of it. My little girl completed her rite of passage, drinking fermented goats milk in a Bedouin tent in Wadi Rum.
Then daddy’s turn…..but Alia wants more
Getting right into the goats milk – flies and all.
They brought a small glass for Alia
We were also offered a ball of jameed to snack on. At approximately 30JD ($45 Aus) a kilo this is extremely generous of Um Ali to offer it to us.
The generosity and hospitality of Um Ali extended to asking our Bedouin guide to take the small goat which Alia was patting and kill it so that she could make Mansaf for us. Whilst we were extremely humbled to have this offer extended to us we (fortunately) didn’t have time and graciously declined.
The sacrificial goat
Much happier to know that the goats gets to live another day
Mummy can I take this one home?
Um Ali, Alia and I
I have to give Helen credit for all the photos in this blog post. She was in the perfect position to capture Alia in action undertaking her rite of passage!