Organised chaos – a Jordanian lesson in efficiency and planning.

Ever since we moved into our house in March last year we haven’t had official road access to our house. There is the paved road that runs at the top of our house, and a paved road at the bottom of the valley, but nothing in between. To access our house from the top road we had to walk down a steep dirt embankment where the road is planned to go to connect the top road to road at the bottom of the valley. This embankment has deteriorated in quality over the past 12 months and in winter was impassable with the snow and then also after the huge storms that we had which washed away lots of the dirt leaving the surface pitted with holes and only slippery gravel/rocks remaining.

There was another option of accessing our house via the side road which really was nothing more than a goat track and again was impassable when wet.

We had been promised by the local government that they would be building the road “soon” and we have waited and waited and waited. The building of the road has also stopped us from putting in the retaining wall at the back of our house due to the earthworks that are required for the new road. So for the past 16 months I’ve been putting up with this at the back of our house.


2 months ago the local government told us that they were connecting our area to the mains sewerage. We are all on septic systems at the moment. This has involved digging 3 metre deep trenches through the middle of  all the roads around us (the roads that were in good condition), leaving us with almost no access to our house at all and me with no roads that I can walk on or get to with a pram.

The road at the top of us.

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This road is to the south of our house where our goat track access meets. I was literally surrounded on all sides by roads that had deep trenches in them.


We were told that once the sewerage pipes were laid that they would then build the new road, and then also put in the retaining wall behind our house. It all started very promisingly, the trenches were dug (well some of them), the dirt embankment access to our house cut, the pipes trucked in and then nothing. And nothing and nothing. No action, no workmen, no machinery, nothing. We were surrounded by roads with big holes dug into them. There was the occasional workmen who would come and lay a couple of pipes, an engineer would would turn up and survey the mess and then back to nothing.

The only way to access the house from the top road after the dirt embankment was cut. The photos don’t show how steep this is. This is looking up from our driveway.

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And looking down. No access to the road at the bottom of the valley.


Then 2 days ago it was all systems go again. The workmen turned up, the machinery was driven in and the work started in earnest. There was an excavator, 2 front end loaders/dozers, a grader, a roller and 2 trucks. It was more action than I had seen. They worked on the bottom half of the new road and much to my surprise actually managed to get it to a point where it was driveable. Still dirt, but it had been made to a gradient and rolled that allowed cars to be able to drive on it. I thought that this would be as much progress as we would get thinking that surely we had had our quota of work  for the next few months, and whilst happy that the bottom half was completed it still didn’t help me out with road access to our house.

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Alia certainly enjoyed all the action from our balcony.


Imagine then to my surprise that the next day the workmen and machinery turned up again. All day a front end loader and truck worked to shape the top half of the road and by the end of the day I was able to walk the full length of the new road for the first time in 12 months.

Connecting the top half of the new road to the bottom half of the new road.


Looking down the new road from the road above  us. Our driveway is to the left of the power pole.


The house on the right is Atef’s older brother Talal’s which is on the road above us, our house in the middle of the photo and Atef’s younger brothers house on the right of the photo below our house.


Our new driveway.


Looking up from the halfway point of the new road.


This photo looking up from the half way point gives some idea of the gradient of the slope. The retaining wall on the left is around Atef’s cousin’s house and is 4 metres high.


The work is still far from finished. Now that they have shaped the top half of the new road they are going to bring the excavator back to dig a 5 metre deep trench to finish laying the sewerage pipes and connect our house to the mains. My logic would have said that it would have been better to dig the trench before shaping the new road, but what would I know! Apparently this work is going to take place next week, and then directly after this is completed they are going to build the retaining wall. I’m not holding my breath knowing how timeframes work here!

At least for the time being I can walk with relative ease to where we park the car on the road at the top of us – that is until they put dig it all up again to make the 5m deep trench.

Local government planning and efficiency (or severe lack thereof) – the same the world over!

Oh and as a side note I’ve given up cleaning for this year! If it wasn’t the dust storms in March, April and into May then it’s the roadworks in June and July. I’m embracing the dust!

9 responses to “Organised chaos – a Jordanian lesson in efficiency and planning.

  1. DarlingHeart: yes, it is the same the whole world over: just ++++ for you . . . shall we hope this too will pass 🙂 ! I have shared quite a few of your posts but have not had your email to show you how! This one too perchance would make friends think ere THEY complained!!

    • Thanks Eha for your support and friendship through the blogging world! It’s wonderful to have met people like yourself. And thank you for sharing my blog with your friends. I will send you an email so that you have my email address. xx

  2. We used to laugh at how things were done until we got back to the USA and found out that bureaucracies and their civic works are just as opaque and inexplicable the world round 🙂

  3. Pingback: Upping the anti and inspiring the neighbourhood. | Middle East Moments·

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