“When last time I was in Europe and Holland we may have met, but that seems ages ago.
Too much has happened in-between and meanwhile the world appears to have turned into a stage for great drama and tragedies, but conversely also great generosity and kindness.
Here in Salt we are working on our new office set-up. Soon we hope to be able to move into our newly renovated and restored office space. I hope that by then you can also read about us on our new website. Majd, a young American Jordanian is the office manager. He has a wealth of administrative experience and I hope that he can handle the Salty way of life. We will also join resources and skills with Jason, our American colleague and 3D printing specialist, as soon as he is able to come to Salt on a regular basis.
I am enormously grateful for good health and that so far we have managed to stay ahead of Corona (see my note on Corona in Jordan). To keep fit I have my daily walks between home and office, and occasionally I take a walk around the town to see people and say hello to friends, while doing some shopping.
One of my daily occupations is to spend time at an old and dilapidated traditional building that is being restored. The owner had asked whether I would do that because of my experience (actually my hobby). In fact I was very happy to take on this restoration job, together with my good friend and colleague Ramadan, an all-round and experienced builder from Egypt. Later on we will tell you more about this unique project.
Salt is basically a large village where everybody knows everybody, which means that the authorities can be more lenient. They will know quickly enough who is legitimate and who is flaunting the rules, J because that is what they are there for and that’s what you do. Friday is total lockdown and you are not to show yourself outside. Mosques and Churches are closed and organised religious worship in groups is taboo. You hear the prayers from the minarets and some of the churches will ring the bells, but that’s it. Weddings are out and, most difficult of all, for funerals the number of visitors who come to pay their respects are limited. Curfew is from 6:00 pm. when a siren screams its warning and a public address system shouts instructions for the night (till 8:00 or 10:00 am.) or for the weekend. Of course people are getting itchy and nervous, and yet – …..
Small corner stores for food and essentials and pharmacies were kept open, but since a few days also large supermarkets and malls are slowly opening up. During the day you could walk everywhere, keeping social distancing and wearing a mask, but if necessary you could apply for a special permit for your car. Now cars – the even numbers one day and odd numbers the next – are allowed to move freely within the governorates (provinces) but not between them. For emergencies you call the police or the army, and every district and population center has one well-equipped hospital that is ready … It works, and yet – …..
I hear complaints, people want to get back to work, to earn their keep. I have been fortunate to have work and during all this time kept five people plus myself busy working on the restoration of an old traditional house. This has given some jealousy issues and I had to take a trouble maker to the police. And yet – …..
We are immensely proud and glad that the King put his foot down and decided what to do. On a population of 9.5 million, with 2 million of them refugees and displaced persons, and thousand still living in camps, we have had some 460 infections and the past 4 days no new cases. 367 recoveries, and 9 deaths. I have heard people say that these numbers cannot be right, but I know that this country doesn’t – cannot keep secrets. Of course these lock downs are miserable, but thank God, here is at least one country that functions and where it worked.