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Wilderness First Aid Training Helps Rescue Injured Hiker

The Abraham Path Initiative strives to play a supporting role to local stakeholders. By providing advice, as well as educational and logistical support, our hope is that locally-led efforts will help the path will grow to be an integral component of the region’s economic and cultural life. One way we accomplish this is by helping to develop a network of professional guides that can bring travelers to experience the Abraham Path in a safe and professional manner, providing everything from comprehensive certification through local universities to wilderness first aid training.

While first aid certification is the sort of thing one hopes to never have to use, it still always a huge relief to have those skills when the situation requires it. Therefore we are happy to hear about about a recent instance where the training we provided to local guides proved to be invaluable in the field. About a month ago, Ayman AbdAlKareem, who was one of the graduates of the first ever Jordanian WFA course, was leading a canyoneering trip in Wadi Hidan. While his group was having a short lunch break, he noticed that someone from another group was climbing up a cliff to jump into the water below. The fall was about 30 meters and despite a few people warning her not to, she took the leap.

Wadi Hidan

The pool and cliff where the accident occurred.

When she emerged after hitting the water, it was clear that she was having difficulty swimming and that something was wrong. Ayman immediately swam over to her and carefully brought her to the shore.

After assessing her and requesting her permission to provide medical treatment, he proceeded to coordinate an extraction from the canyon. They were in an inaccessible place, about two kilometers from the closest road. Furthermore, it turned out that she had broken her back which required extreme caution when moving here. Therefore the rescue operation relied on a lot of the unique training he received when he acquired his SOLO wilderness first aid certification.

After fashioning a stretcher out of ropes, sticks and life jackets, it took about three hours to stabilize her and get her up the trail to the awaiting ambulance. We are happy to report that although she required surgery to stabilize the break, she is expected to to make a full recovery.

Be sure to check out the photo album for the canyoneering trip, which is linked below – looks like they still managed to have a great time despite all the excitement!

Experience Jordan Trip Photos

Guide Training at Bethlehem University

Guides are fundamental to a good experience on the Abraham Path. Although it is possible to hike many sections of the route independently, a guide’s ability to contextualize the experience and bridge differences of culture and language makes for a far richer experience and we recommend that most first-time hikers take a guide along for their trip.

This need for more qualified guides has lead to the creation of a training program specifically designed to support the unique needs of guides along the Abraham Path. The yearlong course is held at Bethlehem University and enrolls 22 qualified students. Graduates will receive guide certification from the Palestinian Ministry of Tourism, and the course is slated to be completed in the spring.

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The class is comprised mostly of young professionals, men and women in their thirties, many of whom are already working in the tourism industry and are excited to enter into a new market of alternative tourism.

Although the program’s primary focus is to provide a comprehensive training that provides graduates with the knowledge and skills necessary to share the Abraham Path experience with walkers, students were also intentionally selected to be geographically distributed along all of the different regions along the trail. This will create a tight-knit network of tourism professionals with the expertise to make sure that hikers are fully supported every step of the way.

So although students spend every weekend learning about everything from history and geography to hands-on first aid education and navigation courses out in the field, the weekly meetings have also given students an opportunity to network and collaborate with each other; and they are already working to improve the path experience. A number of the students have already been acting as local guides along the path for some time, so some of the most valuable education comes simply from the opportunity to collaborate and share experiences. According to Anwar Dawabsheh, one of the students with experience guiding along the trail, he has had a chance to “discuss a lot of problems which face us in the field, and I think I develop myself in these two months more than any other time.”

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