Encountering Local Jordanians
When I visited Jordan, I was certainly overwhelmed by all of the beautiful sites and delicious food, but my eyes were really opened to the amount of peace among the Jordanian people.
Anywhere I traveled in Jordan, whether I was doing a homestay in Orjan Village in the northern part of the country, camping with a Bedouin man in the Wadi Rum desert in the south, or simply catching a taxi cab in Amman, I was frequently greeted with the word “salām.” In Arabic, “salām” means “peace.”
My guide during my visit to Petra mentioned the profound nature of using this word as a greeting and I couldn’t agree more. Every time I met someone new in the country, they started our conversation by basically saying “there’s peace between us,” even though I was clearly a foreigner bringing different cultural traditions and beliefs to their homeland.
Beyond the phrase itself, Jordanians were hospitable, friendly and compassionate in their actions. They shared their favorite food, more tea than I could ever imagine and their life stories.
A Homestay in Jordan
A man named Abu Mahmoud opened his home to us, allowed us to hang out with his kids and even showed us his future residence, which was under construction at the time of our homestay. His wife, Um Mahmoud, cooked wonderful meals for us, and taught the women in our group how to stuff and roll grape leaves. A Bedouin man named Abu Mohammad let us spend the night at his family’s campsite and spent the evening discussing what his Islamic faith means to him, and later sharing ghost stories with us. A taxi cab driver, Yusef, laughed with my wife and I as we discussed the method for eating mansaf.
Book a trip to Jordan, but not just for the beautiful sites. Visit Jordan because you’ll constantly be greeted with peace — both by the saying of the word, and through Jordanians inviting you to into their lives.