Posted by: unyot | June 11, 2009

Bitten by a Camel

Let me tell you about a very remarkable woman.  Her name is, Audrey Shaffer.

Audrey is an adviser for Loma Linda’s medical center in Afghanistan, she is a pilot, she has worked as an archaeologist at every Madaba Plains Project site (Hisban, ‘Umayri, and Jalul – some many times as she attends at least one each year and has for a long time now) and also many on the other side of the river.  And she travels a lot (I am sure there is more but she is modest and I had to collect these facts from multiple sources and was only able to confirm them with her last evening – not surprisingly she didn’t volunteer any new information).

In 2007, she out-climbed us 30-somethings in Petra (we had to continuously stop for rests and she would patiently wait for us).  At the big Roman Theater in Amman, she was the only person over the age of 40 to climb to the top and only a handful under that age made it all the way.  This year again, (as I was with my family she was with another group) she out-climbed another group of 20/30-somethings in Petra (they complained at how fit she was compared to them).

She does all of this with the most pleasant attitude (gracious, cheerful, kind, etc) that you could possibly ever find.

At the end of the day on Sabbath at Petra, as most had already left the park, she was still there posing with a camel for a picture, when the obnoxious (most camels are) beast turned its head and chomped down on her left arm leaving two large marks on the top and at least one on the underside (I saw her after the incident so I can’t be sure of the complete injury).  My family came upon her sitting on a wall patiently waiting for an ambulance to come fetch her.  Yes, she was smiling and still cheerful, making jokes and feeling a bit uncomfortable with all the attention.

Monday morning (at 5 am) she was on the bus going to the tall (and she hasn’t missed a day yet).

Did I mention that she is in her 70’s?  (I won’t get exact out of respect)

Dr. Paul “Sting” Ray and I have been swamped with object registration.  It has taken us 1 1/2 – 2 hours each night to do all the paperwork and manage the objects.  Audrey joined us 2 nights ago and we have been done now in 1/2 – 3/4 of an hour each night!

She is a blessing.  If you ever get the chance to meet her and get to know her, don’t pass up the opportunity.  If you do you will miss 1/2 your life.

Mr. Cool (D-1 super)

By the way, I just posted some pictures at (search for “L. S. Baker, Jr.” and navigate to my “photostream” to seem them) – it is hard to upload pictures because of the internet so I only have a few.


  1. And don’t forget . . . Audrey broke her back last summer and six weeks later was excavating at Tall al-‘Umayri! She is unstoppable.

  2. Audrey is super woman. I have never seen her not smiling or heard her not say something cheerful in her life. She has been a pilot for over 40 years and had her own plane, which she flew the day before she came to Jordan.

    She’s my hero.

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