Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Marguerite van Geldermalsen

30 years ago Marguerite van Geldermalsen was just a young New Zealand tourist visiting Petra when she met and fell in love with Mohammad Abdullah.

A friend enthusiastically recommended I read her book, “Married to a Bedouin”, before going there, but I had no idea I would actually get to meet Marguerite, who is arguably Petra’s most well-known resident today. IMG_8119 IMG_8058 With her son Raami she sells to-die-for silver jewellery on her stall in the centre of the Petra ruins. IMG_8061 The imaginative pieces are designed by young Jordanian artists and made by 17 local women in Wadi Mousa (the town at the entrance to the Petra site) at the Al Amarat Jewellery Centre (established by the Noor Al-Hussein Foundation to help improve the living standards of local women).

She also shows amazing patience and graciousness when total strangers like me ask her to pose for photographs!

10 comments:

Lindi said...

I remember reading an article somewhere once about her. I've never read the book. How wonderful that she is still there, and participating in such a community-building occupation.

helen said...

The book was just plain awesome!

Anonymous said...

am reading the book now, it is a great read. very interesting. as lindi said, it is wonderful to see that she still lives there. good on her :)

Heather C said...

Am reading the book now and am finding it fascinating. My 17 year old son, my father and I visited Petra last month and our guide pointed out her son. Wish I had known about the book and had read it before our trip. First saw the book in Amman before we went to Petra and bought it when we returned home to the US.

Anonymous said...

Most interesting book I've found in ages.

Anonymous said...

Most interesting book I've found in ages.

Anonymous said...

Most interesting book I've found in ages.

Anonymous said...

sumtl

Pamela P. said...

Our Book Club in Golden Bay New Zealand are all reading Marguerite's book at the moment and finding it fascinating so much so that I have just had to go into Google and find more about Petra and Marguerite. What a fascinating woman and place!

Karin said...

I've just read the book. Lovely, gives a fine picture of beduin life and of love. I have wished to visit Petra, and now even more so after having read Marg´s book.
Karin