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Jordan: Poor and Backward

Being poor and backward go hand in hand, according to Jordanian blogger Muoffaq Qabbani, who brings us this story about how poor people insist on having more and more children.

Muoffaq writes:

دائما احب ان ابحث عن الأمور المتعلقة بالفقر و المشاكل الإجتماعية
من فترة بسيطة حصل حوار بيني و بين والدتي و هي حاليا مسؤولة عن احد مراكز التنمية الإجتماعية و الثقافية في عمان
I love researching matters related to poverty and social problems. I recently had this conversation with my mother, who is in charge of one of the social development and cultural centres in Amman.

He continues:

عن بعض فتاة لها حالة خاصة وهي انها شبه عمياء , و الغريب في الموضوع انه والدها هاجرهم و متزوج من اخرى في محافظة اخرى و لديه 7 اطفال من الزوجة الأخرى … اوضاع العائلة حاليا مقبولة و امورهم ميسرة

الفكرة الأساسية انه سبحان الله الفقر و الجهل اكتير من الأحيان بيلتصقو ببعض,
يعني فقير و بدك تتزوج 2 و تجيب 10 أولاد!!! يعني بعرف انه الرزقة على الله و المولود بيجي و بتجي رزقو معو , بس شي و منو !!

و اغلب الرجال برد عليك ,انه من عند الله , و انه مابقدر يخفف , والواحد ليش بتزوج , … إلخ

She spoke about a girl with a special case, she was partially blind. What was strange is that their father had deserted them, and is married to another woman in another province, and has seven children with the other wife. The condition of the family at present is acceptable and they can manage their affairs.

The idea is that it is bewildering how poverty and ignorance are interrelated at times. Why is it when you are poor, you want to get married to two women and have 10 children? I fully understand that God gives His blessings and that newborns come with their blessings.

And most men would reply to you and say that it is from God, and that he cannot do anything about it, and why does one get married, etc.

Muoffaq shares the following conversation he has had with an Abu Mohammed:

كمان بتسئلو : يا زلمة و بعدين معك سمعتك مرتك حامل ؟؟؟؟
ابو محمد : الرزقة على الله
موفق: بعرف هاد الحكي ونعمه بالله , بس كمان انته لازم يكون عندك شوية عقل عندك 5 ولاد و اصغر واحد عمره سنة ونص إرحم إرحم مرتك مش ماكينة ,
ابو محمد : طيب شو اعمل هيك صار مش بإيدي
موفق: شو تعمل؟؟؟؟؟ زبط امورك , هدي اللعب , احسب , روح على مركز تنظيم الإسرة يعني عشان صحتك و صحتها , يا زلمة استنى شوي بس يصير إبنك عمره 3 سنين على الأقل مش ورا بعض ..
ابو محمد : احسب شو ؟ يعني حتى على هالشغلة الواحد بدو ينقص على حالو ,
موفق: ابو محمد, مش تنقص على حالك روح على مركز تنظيم الإسرة بس إقرأ المنشورات أو اعطيهم لمرتك ولا احكيلك , انا بجبلك ياهم !
ابو محمد : شو رح استفيد يعني؟؟
موفق: بس اجيبهم بشرحلك
When you ask him: Oh man, what's up with you. I just heard that your wife is pregnant again???
Abu Mohammed: Their blessings are on God
Muoffaq: I know all this and I know that blessings come from God, but you also have to use your brain. You already have five children and the youngest is a year and a half old and you need to have mercy on your wife as she isn't a machine.
Abu Mohammed: Fine, but what can I do. It just happened and there isn't anything in my hands.
Muoffaq: What can you do??? Get your act together; play it safe; count; visit a family planning centre; do it for your health and your wife's well being; and at least wait until your child is three years old before having another one… you can't have them like this, one after the other.
Abu Mohammed: Count what? Do I even have to be responsible for this.. how many more burdens should a person shoulder?
Muoffaq: Abu Mohammed, I don't mean that you have to put more burdens on your shoulders. Just visit a family planning centre and pick up the brochures and give them to your wife to read .. or you know what, I can bring them for you!
Abu Mohammed: And how would that benefit me?
Muoffaq: When I get them to you, I will explain.

He adds:

مابعرف مو فكرة تدخل بحاتهم , بس اكتير من الحالات يلي بعرفها الزلمة منتوف و عايف حالو و فوق كل هاد بدو يجيب 6 و 7 اطفال ,والله مابزعل و يجيب 10 كمان , بس يكون على الاقل بيته صحيا مناسب , لك زوجته ترتاح ,بتلاقي يا دوب الفرق بين الطفل و الطفل سنة
I don't really know. I don't want to interfere in people's lives but in all the cases I know of, the men are really poor and barely getting along and still want to have six to seven children. I wouldn't be angry if they even had 10, but the least they can do is have a suitable house, for their wives to be comfortable in, and should at least have a year in age difference between one child and the next.

1 comment

  • I think all these case studies can be adequately backed up with some facts that I happen to have. Although it os a hotly debated issue, studies have shown a strong inverse correlation between the level of education and the number of children born in a family.

    I agree with Abu Mohammed, ducation is key: A study conducted by DHS in Jordan for egs. showed that Jordanian women who had no education at all had an average of 6.9 children in 1990 whereas women who had 7-9 years of education had 5.4 children as an average.

    I have noticed though that Jordan had a high birthrate of 5.6 children during the 90’s which was rivaled only by Yemen. Countries like Egypt, Syria and Tunisia had 3.6, 4.2 and 3.1 respectively. Why does Jordan have such a high birth rate? Is it still the same story in 2008?

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