Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Day trip/turns into overnight stay, gravel pits, farm animals, kind strangers.

I am racing through my last week. Now is the time to soak in everything around me. I was advised by a friend that I should do something cultural. So, early Monday morning I woke up and hopped on the first bus I found to the Badia.

All of my time in Jordan has been spent living and working in the city. I realize that there are two kinds of worlds in Jordan. There is the city and then the Bedouin. Life in the desert is very different from how people live in the city. I saw more traditional people and no places to buy shwerma. In the Badia, knowing people and having connections is everything. Luckily my Badia boys have friends who have horses and camels so I was able to have some kind of country entertainment.

In one day, I was able to see and do everything that the desert village of Salhiyya offers (if that gives you any indication of the remoteness of the desert.) I was glad to step out of the world I knew and see things through a different cultural lens.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Meeting with Her Excellency

Our final internship meeting with Her Excellency Halla Latouff was an excellent opportunity to share our thoughts and feeling about our time in Jordan and to understand the perspective the Minister has on development.

The goal all along has been about the transference of knowledge and culture. The Minister shared with us that one of her greatest experiences in life was the chance to spend a year of study in the U.S. when she was 16. To this day, she still keeps in contact with her host family and is still grateful for the eye-opening experience that has forever influenced her outlook on life. She explained that we are all just people with different past experiences, opinions, and attitudes towards life.

I will always remember my time in Jordan as a time that challenged me yet I am still optimistic. The exposure to different ideas, peoples, and ways of living has caused me to reflect on my own ideas, values, and ways of viewing the world. My opinion is this:

The world is full of ugly and hateful things but it still has the potential to change if there are those willing to facilitate change for the better.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Ajloun: Part Duex

Things move quickly around the Alissa house. One moment you could be getting ready for a cooking lesson and the next you are being ordered to put on your shoes quickly because you are going to AJLOUN.

Ajloun is a a beautiful city just north of Amman and is the home to my host mum's sister and her family. The greatest point of interest in Ajloun is the Ajloun Castle which sits a top one of the city's big hills. I went to the ancient site a few weeks ago with some other interns but going with all the family made the experience feel a lot more personal. The feeling of belonging to this family always grows more poignant as the number of family members increases. Three of my host mum's sisters and their kids went with us to the castle. The steep road leading up to the hilltop fortress was packed with cars and people walking with large bags in hand. Fridays are the days that families hit the hill and bring their bags of dismantled argila pieces with them.

The night air smelled like pine trees and a smooth breeze was well appreciated as I looked over the old city of Ajloun. There are moments when I feel like the places I visit are like home. ( Jordan and Southern Utah are really the same place)I am always asked about why I am here in Jordan and how I have liked what I have seen........and I always answer honestly. I love it here. I meet so many people here desperate to get out and it becomes very real to me that beautiful places are not always as wonderful and exotic to the people who are struggling within the country's borders. Along with the beautiful site, the nice family dinners, and the safe walks at night, I have also seen the homeless, discouraged, and desperate. The intertwining of the two experiences makes things bittersweet but also puts a well needed reality check into every day.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Old lady KayKa!

Happy Birthday.....yesterday......!
I love you baby.
I send you kisses from a Kamel.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Attempted acts of tourism.

shababaat....chit chatting.
Blast Jordan and its festivals of culture!

Last night, the shabab and I attempted to see the ancient ruins of Amman's Citadel but our hopes were dashed as we were informed that the tourist attraction was closed due to the Jordan Music Festival. The integrity of the ruins were covered by advertisements and stadium seating. Although we were not able to see the fullness of the old site, we were able to enjoy the city scape from our serene location. I have found that I am better able to experience the vastness of Amman when I view it from its various lofty jabals(mountains). After not being permitted into the Citadel, the shabab and I took off walking through some windy streets until we found stairways built into the mountain that led to the city center.

We were able to make refuge of the night by enjoying some kunafa, cocktails, and a friendly game of shudda(really some random card game james was trying hard to teach me). What really topped it off was watching Fantastic Mr. Fox....a sketch copy too from Hamoudeh DVD. The pop corn, movie, and chilling in fancy expat part of town made me feel very American.

Although I like having some American time in Amman, I cherish the time I am able to spend on the streets talking to the people. My host papa, Abdullah, always tells me that I have to talk with the common people. That is only way I can aqcauint myself with the real Jordan.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

IT has been too long old friend......

On a whim, I walked into the closest market to get some change for a taxi and what did I find? I found the most glorious dark thirst quencher to ever float across my taste buds. I found my dearest of all American beverages.........Dr. Pepper. I had heard rumors that this elusive elixir was sold at the US embassy but to find it on the common streets was a grand treat. It only cost me 1.50 for a small can.......so worth it. I love this country.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

quick update before my computer dies.....again

I have been a negligent blogger.
My computer charger decided that it just cannot power my computer without me holding it in place the whole time.
I have not had the time to sit and charge my computer here for more than ten minutes.
Many things have happened since my last post. My internship is coming to an end and I am starting to long for the comforts of home but at the same time I am already missing the people I have met and love here.

The realization that I will have to leave my work and the girls that I have gotten to know and love over the past 6 weeks is overwhelming. I want them to be healthy, happy, and continue their education. The huge problem with "sustainable development" is knowing how to keep the development process sustained. I am afraid their will be no one to teach anything after I leave. I have a few more weeks and I am working on a proposal to bring in English learning materials and update the computer lab with more than just one functioning computer. But if I have learned anything this summer, it has been that you cannot depend on any type of bureaucratic help. It is all about the trying though. All I can say is Insha Allah..............................that phrase has gained a greater meaning for me since being here. People really mean "if God wills it." They don't really try to make things work themselves...it is all up to Allah.

On a happier note I got to see the beautiful Nancy Agram(the cutest Arab singer in the world) and Queen Noor last night at the International Children's Congress concert. Nancy sang and Queen Noor just sat there looking classy. My favorite part of the evening was being able to see the arts of the Middle East. There were performances by modern dancers, a group of singers, and a very colorful display of fluttering flags from all over the world. I especially enjoyed the bursting claps that followed the announcement of the presence of Palestinian representatives at the conference. Some people really love their Palestine here.