The Story of ‘Mukheiba’: A Town in the North of Jordan

By Jumana Ghunaimat

تم نشره في Wed 8 February / Feb 2017. 01:00 AM
  • Jumana Ghunaimat

On a small scape of land, far up to the north of Jordan, close to the borders, there is town known as “Mukheiba”, in an area known as the “Hemma al Foqa”, meaning the upper springs, where local families, by the thousands, enduring an unimaginable condition of poverty and hunger, have not even the right of complaint!

The situation there is heart breaking, as depicted by AlGhad’s correspondent, colleague Ola Abdullatif; a result of unmeasurable shortcoming and negligence.

Typically, the problems there culminate with time. The situation gets more complicated by the day, in the absence of attention by officials and the state as a whole.

It is an endless suffocation, as described by Abdullatif, in her investigative report; there isn’t much variance in the financial status of the locals there. And their only way out of impoverishment is to leave their town, which is an option only so few of them can afford, whilst the rest of the residents of Mukheiba endure ‘endless’ suffering and despair.

Nearly 70 thousand people live there, right next to what could be a national resource; the upper (northern) hot springs of Hemma al Foqa, with all its minerals and medical benefits, platforming a huge developmental opportunity, were it not for the absence of planning, which inevitably made it even worse for the residents of the town.

In Arabic, the word ‘Mukheiba’ means disappointing, or disappointment. And how unfortunate it is for the story of a town called ‘Mukheiba’ to really turn out to be such a disappointment!

In truth, it is a disappointment in our government, and more so that of its own residents’, to see their town, which such immense potential for development, vecome one of the most impoverished areas in the Jordanian north.

Investment opportunities there are not rare; the locals themselves have started their own stops and lounges, almost 40 of them, and some of them are unlicensed.

The place has the basis to become a tourist hub; over 17 thousand people visit the springs on a weekly average.

Despite the weekly visitor rate, the locals’ problems grew instead of shrinking, as a result of the decision to shut down the Jordanian Hemma Spa, which escalated the spread of poverty and the rise of unemployment, which is already high, among youths there, let alone everything else that is wrong with the town.

The truth behind the difficult situation in ‘Mukheiba’ is all too well known. It is rooted in the absence of real developmental strategies, which disrupted coordination between respective parties, in addition to the shortage in investments. And the result is disaster zone, infested with all kinds of social and economic problems.

That said, the town ‘Mukheiba’ stands as a monument to our governments’ failure and an embodiment of the failure to advance development. The crude factors for development there are made available there by nature; a gift to attract local visitors and tourists. All we need to do is outline an executable plan to invest in this natural resource and pull the town out of the clutches of poverty and help its residents start their own lounges.

Notably, such an objective would require the cooperation of different official bodies; particularly bodies responsible for planning and financing, because the local community, despite their limited access to information and minimal expertise in tourism and development, has already depended on itself to establish some projects. Support, in forms of ideas and some financial help, could help start an endless array of small and medium business and establishments on solid sustainable grounds, which would improve the level of services there and provide jobs for members of locals.

Establish lounges and rest houses which employ locals, after training them and rehabilitating them, could easily turn the story of poverty and disappointment to success!

Licensing these lounges and organising their work there, coupled with the necessary marketing, could easily double the number of visitors.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic version, published by AlGhad.