My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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AMMAN, Trans-Jordan, Friday—As I told you yesterday there are differences in the degree of human misery in all the refugee camps we have visited, but they have one thing in common: the people are all miserable. Their problem can only be solved under the new plan accepted this year in the United Nations if the governments concerned really cooperate with the U.N. commissioner.

We were back at the house before 11:30 in the morning and after a brief stop started on our long drive to Amman.

At the border of Trans-Jordan U.S. Minister Gerald Drew met us. We were received by the customs officers who spoke perfect English and were treated to a cup of very strong tea instead of coffee. A little farther down the road we stopped to eat a very nice picnic lunch which Mrs. Cannon had put into the car for us and by 4:30 we were in Amman.

The trip was largely through fairly flat country. At this season there were floods in some places because of the heavy rains.

This is wheat land. The hills in the distance are bare of trees and in many places soil erosion is evident. Lebanon, because of its terraced hills, probably is safer from soil erosion than in this country and I would feel that reforestation is one of the most important things needed to be done in Trans-Jordan.

We saw flocks of sheep, buffalos, camels and donkeys. The donkeys seemed lost under their burdens, but in spite of their small size seemed to be able to carry considerable produce plus a hefty man sitting on top of it. They tell me that in a pinch camels can be loaded with one ton of cargo, and we have seen some bearing extremely heavy burdens.

We saw Bedouin tents, but most of Bedouins are farther south at the present time. However, in summer their camels and they themselves give this landscape a far more populated look.

I have left to the last the goats. They are the livelihood of many of the people, but, on the other hand, unless they are controlled they are perhaps the curse of this country. They eat everything and that is the reason why small trees have no chance to grow.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Amman (Jordan) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, February 16, 1952

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.