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God Put a Smile Upon Your Face

My Scholarship entry - A local encounter that changed my life

WORLDWIDE | Friday, 2 March 2012 | Views [135] | Scholarship Entry

The road to Petra was beautiful; Amman still waking up from its sleep and the sunrays reflected on the yellow and red sand on both sides of the road, it was completely magical. I couldn’t sleep even though I wanted to.

I gasped when I started walking through Petra, in disbelief that I am actually in this amazing city carved in the mountains that I read a lot about. I felt like I went back in time. Feelings of peace and serenity overwhelmed me. But unfortunately, after walking for 1.5 hours in the sun and climbing half way through a mountain, my body couldn’t take the exhaustion of working 12 hours/day for the past week and broke down, I felt really sick and that I couldn't go on anymore. I sat on the sidewalk and my eyes started to tear up. I felt so lonely and vulnerable, alone up in the mountain with no one to help me.

Then a voice came from behind telling me "smile and the world smiles to you". I looked back to find two Bedouin boys. They asked me why I was sad, and I told them. Then one of them said “don't worry about it, I will take you all over Petra on the donkey and you won't feel tired. You have made it so far so don't give up now”. I asked him how much money he'll take for it and he said "money does not make a friend".

The boys were 19 but so wise and mature for their age, we had great talks and they were also so much fun. Mahmoud played Rihanna on his mobile for us - which I found very bizarre in a setting like Petra - while Yasser acted as my tour guide. They would wait for me when I felt sick again and needed to use the bathroom and helped me look for a pharmacy (and failed to find any). I know this might sound so corny but I really felt like I could trust them and that they were my friends. At the end, Yasser refused to take money from me but I really insisted. But in no way it was a compensation for how secure I felt and taken care of. Sometimes, all we really need is a friend and everything else will work out on its own.

Tags: Travel Writing Scholarship 2012

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