The Bedouins, traditional nomads of the Middle East deserts, are being encouraged to carve a new life for themselves in Jordan.
GV Desert & mountains
GV Bedouin tents in desert (2 shots)
SV Boys play football in sand.
LV ZOOM BACK FROM Water sprinkler to modern building at Al Husseiniya.
GV Vegetation PAN TO trees
GV Field of crops
CU Water gushing from well head and pipes (2 shots)
CU Irrigation channel
SV Man lays pipes.
LV Fields and irrigation workers lay pipes.
SV Bedouin conference inside tent (4 shots)
GV Sunrise over wadi
LV Shepherd herds sheep towards water trough (5 shots)
SV Men working irrigation ditch
CU Crops growing
LV ZOOM BACK Irrigation pipes in field and crops
LV ZOOM BACK FROM Desert over settlements and irrigation dam.
Initials AH/JH/BB/2115 AH/JH/BB/2259
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Background: The Bedouins, traditional nomads of the Middle East deserts, are being encouraged to carve a new life for themselves in Jordan. Under an important Government-sponsored scheme, the tribesmen are converting barren desert into fertile fields and pastures.
In 1962, the resettlement project was started with capital of only half a million dollars. Now, with the support of international aid, it is estimated that the whole bedouin way of life could be changed within the next 20 years. The nomadic herdsmen will become land-owners and farmers, reaping the benefits of established educational and health facilities.
For the first time in centuries, trees have been planted in the desert. At Al Husseiniya, south of Amman, the trees shelter a settlement that started two-and-a-half years ago. Three hundred people now live there.
The Bedouins at Al Husseiniya still depend upon traditional herds of sheep. But now they grow alfafa crops to fee their animals, instead of wandering the desert in search of grazing land. The alfafa is planted by the government, and the Bedouins work the land initially for a salary--but after a five-year period, the land becomes the property of the Bedouins.
The key to the whole project is, of course, water. There's plenty of it--but at a depth of 1,500 metres (yards) beneath the desert. And the cost of sinking a well works out at roughly 1,000 dollars per metre.
Further south, a single well in the wadi Qa Desi is capable of providing an annual 61 million gallons to water a land reclamation scheme set up by an Italian company.
Eucalyptus trees have been planted to give protection against wind and sandstorms, and crops of peppers, melons, marrows, cucumbers, beans and alfafa are being grown.
Bedouin encampments ring the area. Some tribesmen already work on the project. Others continue to herd their flocks. But all are vitally interested in the scheme, knowing that once it has proved a success they will be allotted portions of the reclaimed land.
To the west, the Jordanian Ministry of Agriculture has set up an experimental sheep station. Three hundred animals are kept by 10 Bedouin shepherds. Besides producing cheese--prized by the Arabs--meat and wool, the station breeds animals in an effort to improve the stock kept by nomadic herdsmen.
In Each project, the wandering Bedouin is being encouraged to settle and take a pride in land ownership. So far, none of the settled tribesmen have opted to return to the nomadic way of life. They are even developing a sense of national identity and commitment,with many of the Bedouin youths joining the Jordanian army.
It's an important beginning. British and American aid, plus a special United Nations fund, will ensure that the reclamation work continues and that hospitals and schools are built for the resettled Bedouins.