The following is a beautiful post written by a good friend of mine, who is an American expatriate living in Jordan. The value of having a “tribe” is so vital to being a whole and healthy person, and a better citizen activist.
Much like my friend, I often find myself struggling to “find my tribe,” and thinking marriage is the only way to get there. Marriage is a good value, but not a magic bullet (as it is often viewed). I love the Church; although imperfect, it has served as my family throughout the years, to fill in the major gaps that my life has left (in terms of blood-family).
Last night at church, the sermon was given by a man who has been in Jordan for 20 years or more. There are several of these families scattered around the country. While sometimes their social skills are a bit off, they usually can compensate through great stories and meaningful reflections that can only come after one truly knows the culture.
This man has taken a fascination with the concept of tribes and has been studying them for years now. His talk was a small portion of his research.
Jordan is a very tribal country, in the sense that everyone here has a much larger identity than themselves. Their family, their nationality, their ethnicity- these are not things to try to ignore but rather determines how they live and who they are. People uphold family responsibility higher than any Westerner expects. People literally give their lives to uphold their family’s pride and reputation.