Synopses & Reviews
New Zealand born nurse Marguerite van Geldermalsen first visited the lost city Petra with her friend Elizabeth in 1978 on a sightseeing tour of the ancient world. Already looking forward to her beach holiday at the end of the trip, little did Maguerite know she was about to meet the man she would marry, the charismatic Mohammad Abdallah Othman, a Bedouin craftsman of the Manajah tribe. A life with Mohammad meant moving into his ancient cave and learning to love the regular tasks of baking shrak bread on an open fire and collecting water from the spring. But as Marguerite feels herself becoming part of the Bedouin community, she is thankful for the twist in fate that has led her to this contented life. Marguerites light-hearted and guileless observations of the people she comes to love are as heart-warming as they are valuable, charting Bedouin traditions now lost to the modern world.
"Readers will enjoy van Geldermalsens detailed and deeply human depictions of celebrations, motherhood, and more in Petra. Recommended for public libraries and for academic library browsing collections." Library Journal
"For anyone who enjoys travel books, especially about the Middle East, this is the real thinga fascinating account of life as a Bedouin in the late 20th century written by a Western woman." Mary S. Lovell, author, Beth of Hardwick
'Where you staying?' the Bedouin asked. 'Why you not stay with me tonight--in my cave.' He seemed enthusiastic. And we were looking for adventure. Thus begins the story of how Marguerite van Geldermalsen--a New Zealand-born nurse--became the wife of Mohammad Abdallah Othman, a Bedouin souvenir-seller of the Manaja tribe, and lived with him and their children in a community of 100 families in the ancient caves of Petra in Jordan. Marguerite and a friend were traveling through the Middle East in 1978 when she met the charismatic Mohammad and decided that he was the man for her. Their home was a lofty 2,000 year-old cave carved into the red rock of a hillside. She became the resident nurse and learned to live like the Bedouin--cooking over fires, hauling water on donkeys, and drinking sweet black tea--and over the years she became as much of a curiosity as the cave-dwellers to tourists. This is her extraordinary story.
About the Author
Marguerite van Geldermalsen was widowed in 2002. She now divides her time between Sydney, Australia, and Jordan.