(Photo from the Jordan Times, by Hani Hazaimeh)
Amman is not a city of monuments. I still like to call it a city of human scale.
Being what it is, it sometimes manages to elevate a humble street seller to a true city landmark.
The story of Abu Ahmad, the peanut street vendor near Amman’s downtown gold market, has already been featured in various Jordanian publications, but it was great to read an updated version of the man’s story in yesterday’s Jordan Times, featured on the front page of the paper.
His life story takes him, as a 15 year old kid, from his native Nigeria to Soudan, en route to a pilgrimage in Mecca. But fate led him to Egypt, Jerusalem then Amman.
This man has stood on the same spot for decades. I used to pass him by daily during my high school days in the late 1980s, as I walked from my school, Al Hussein College in Jabal Al Hussein, to the service tax station at the intersection of the main Gold Market street and Shabsough Street. As he stood there, the city that became his unlikely home, grew from a town of tens of thousands to a capital of nearly 2.5 million people.
I will leave you to read the full Jordan Times story. But one thought I would like to leave you with is that Amman should always save a space for its street vendors, and not make the mistake of killing street culture in the name of urban development or “neatness”. It’s stories like Abu Ahmad that make Amman what it is.