Eye of my dearest desert horse Samiha, drawing


House or barn?

Suddenly the word pets gets a very different meaning.

Imagine: you build a house but do not have any plans and money to finish it. The skeleton of the house is there. Built on top of the family’s house. Wadi Musa is a mountain village so most of the houses are built against the mountain.

Meanwhile, we live in a rented house in the valley of the village. Our landlord wants to put us out because he can receive more rent from people who have dropped their eye on our house.

But the house above the family is not finished yet and is now being used by PET animals.

Petra, horse riding to the Siq
Petra, horse riding to the Siq

Imagine a home full of small and big pets

The moment I came to live in Wadi Musa, I brought my horse and dog. My horse was placed in a stable together with the brother’s horse. But… the neighbors complained about horse’s smelling too much. Actually strange in a place with about 700-1000 horses living mostly with the people. The neighbor has to get rid of the stench. One night he led the horses outside and set the barn on fire…

Horses in the kitchen

It is too cold in the winter to leave the horses outside so a solution had to be found quickly. The house was empty, and only consists of concrete walls. The window at the front was cut down and the horses Samiha and Luca could enter.
They now have a beautiful stable … in the kitchen of the house.

Half of the time I am with the family, so the dog, a Saluki named Warda lives with them. But … a dog is unclean in Islamic countries, it can not be housed inside. There is a nice place for her in the stockroom. The straw for the horses is stored there and it is a lovely big bed for her.

If you have horses, you need a lot of food: hay, barley, corn. That is now stored in the unfinished house: in the salon where the guests will be received.

The guest room later
The guest room later


The family wanted chickens at the house for the eggs and the conviviality. During the day they scrabble around the house, pick up a cereal grain here and there or at the sink for a drop of water and of course around the horses where enough “waste” will be around. In the evening they sleep in the guest room, the salon.

The family’s house is heated with a wood stove. Once every couple of weeks the father goes to get wood and which is then stored in the bathroom and in the toilet of the “empty” house.


Because all the stuff from the camp in the desert does not fit into the rented house, the dining room and the women’s salon are used as storage. They are now full of beds, mattresses and other items.

There was at once a nice herd of goats … I had the hope that they would scurry around the house but the fence is not ready yet.
The last acquisition is therefore 9 goats, 5 adults and 4 small ones. And they inhabit the bedroom.

Petra, view from a house on the mountain
Petra, view from the house on the mountain


The house is full. I asked when the pigeons come to live on the roof, but perhaps I have brought the family to new ideas?
Now the plan is to finish the house further, but what to do with all the pets?
I still have a big Bedouin tent. We make plans to put these on the roof of the house. Then we can live there … if we are actually have to move out of our rented house …

It is a true story from 2011. In the end the house has been completed and we have lived there. It was a nice house but there were so many terrible things that made it no longer felt like home. My horse had passed away, see this blog. I was so happy when I could flee this house even though it meant that I was literally on the street with all my stuff.

Read next time where I ended up, albeit without a horse but with goats, camels, and finally with horses again.

If you like to know where I am now and what I do, visit our website Jordan Desert Journeys. Or connect to me on facebook.

I’m writing a book now about my desert life in Jordan. With many more stories, check it on the fb page: Een leven in de woestijn.

Leave a Reply