The Qatari family left this morning for Doha. Most of the village turned out to give them a tearful sendoff. It’s interesting to understand how tribal politics function within this village. It’s my understanding that Abu Ahmed’s family only lives here for two months every summer, but they seem to be far and away the wealthiest family here and seem to play a prominent role in local politics. On at least two of the nights I’ve been here my host father has attended a discussion at Abu Ahmed’s home with a number of the other men from the tribe. On the second night I was invited to attend and though I didn’t fully grasp all of their conversation it seemed to focus on the sheikh and the allocation of a fairly large sum of money to some sort of project in the area. During this discussion Abu Ahmed acted as the gracious host, but also seemed quite involved in the decision-making process which struck me as somewhat odd given his part-time status as a resident here.

After they finished packing their belongings into the two SUVs they brought to Kariya and farewells were shared, they drove away. Almost immediately after this, my host family and another family began cleaning Abu Ahmed’s house for him. Later in the day we planted grain in the fields on his property. Since Abu Ahmed won’t return until the following summer, I have to assume the village men also bring in the harvest from these fields. I’m not quite sure what to make of this and plan to ask about it when I return to Amman, but there seem to be four possibilities to me. First, these acts may be a simple extension of hospitality. Second, Abu Ahmed may pay the families to do this work for him. Third, Abu Ahmed may allow the families to plant their own crops on his land while he isn’t there. Or finally, Abu Ahmed may hold some sort of prominent role in the tribal hierarchy, which makes these acts appropriate or necessary.

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