The Bedouin, mountain village of Dana in southern Jordan is one of those special places where you feel the echoes of past ages, and time takes on a different meaning. Perhaps time is distorted by the high mountains surrounding Dana, or it might be something to do with the old, honey coloured houses and winding streets, or simply the fact that people have lived there for over 4000 years.
I like to relive my own, first experience of Dana’s magic by watching and listening to visitors enthralled by Dana’s natural beauty and history. In Dana village you are more than just a visitor. You are a guest, and so experience true Bedouin hospitality.
For me, there is something exceptional about the people of Dana. On my first visit, I was amazed by their enthusiasm and friendliness, and their desire to share Dana (and Jordan) with guests. I was struck by their assuredness of their identity, and the easy way that their lives entwined with the nature around them.
A generation ago, they were Bedouin farmers spending part of their year in the wadi (valley) tending their animals and growing crops, and part of the year in the village. Now working together as the Dana Cooperative, they are benefitting their whole community by developing community owned sustainable tourism in the Dana Nature Reserve.
There are over 100 Bedouin families within the Dana Cooperative and sustainable tourism is just one component of the Cooperative’s sustainable development programme. The programme focuses on community development and the empowerment of local women and young people.
This blog is about Dana and its people. The story will unfold through my eyes, experiences and voice. To ensure a ‘local accent’, there will be guest bloggers from the local community, and photograph galleries displaying the work of local, amateur photographers (Dana village and Dana Nature Reserve). Read Author and Blog to find out how I fit into the story.
Ahlan wa sahlan fee Dana – welcome to Dana !