Author(s): Marguerite Van Geldermalsen
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. Marguerite's 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.
The donkey tied to the tent peg had a hard-on which was difficult to ignore. 'Hamar mabsoot,' my new brother-in-law Ibraheem said cautiously and as I realised I recognised his words (the donkey's happy), so our embarrassment dissolved with a giggle.
'For anyone who enjoys travel books, especially about the Middle East, this is the read thing - a fascinating account of life as a Bedouin in the late twentieth century written by a Western woman' Mary S. Lovell
Marguerite is from New Zealand. In 1978 she met Mohammad Abdallah in Petra, Jordan, married him and moved into his Nabataean cave. In 1985 they moved to the new Bedouin settlement, Umm Sayhoon. She was widowed in 2002. She has three children.