We have all, upon visiting some places of history, walked away with a lasting impression. It takes the form of a story, an object or even a person of that place and we carry it within. We conjure it affectionately when that time or place is mentioned or remembered.
My latest such hero of the day is Faddah.*
A month ago, I visited the oldest known built house in Jordan, la Yazal, in Um el Kundum area (or mother of grain in Aramaic) .
Amongst the beautiful artwork and old photos on its walls; I came to meet her. With very telling eyes and a rock solid matriarch figure, she's hard to miss. Faddah*, was the wife of the late owner; Ibrahim Bisharat. The house built on a vast piece of land was constructed in 1860 in stages. Upon the arrival of the Ottomans, rumors had spread that the Christians' well being is under threat. And so, the prominent Christian family decided to leave and take refuge elsewhere until things settle. They headed west until they reached the Abu Dis village in Jerusalem , Palestine. There they stayed as their guests for a year.
Not Faddah however, she stayed behind refusing to abandon her beloved house. She witnessed and bravely endured the hardships, looting for instance, expected in these troubled times.
The house and Faddah thankfully survived and the family came back.
Fast forward around 160 years ; the house , or more deservingly, the home, stands proud for all to enjoy . Faddah's grandson, Mamdouh,** true not only to his heritage but to art and history, made it a life mission and passion to preserve and enrich it with many salvaged additions.
I will leave you the pleasure of discovering a lot more about the house when you visit***, but I have to mention a couple.
The meter thick walls that reminded me of my grandfather's house in Palestine; an amazing feature that addressed the climate and fortitude of these houses. Their beauty transpires in the wide romantic window ledges they leave. The second would be the cross vaulted domes; our guide best described them as arms embracing space and people.
In warm remembrance of la Yazal; I salute all the Faddahs of our world; the brave women who stand their ground in life and hold the fort .
* Faddah means silver in Arabic
** Also known as "the Duke", a title given to him by the late King Hussein of Jordan
*** The Duke, in addition to this house, has acquired and opened old houses in Amman for all to enjoy. For further information visit their facebook page https://facebook.com/dukestour