Showing posts from June, 2016

Petra - Kingdom of Nabateans

Just before Indiana Jones found "the Treasury", he may have found our able teacher-guide, Mr. Abdullah, in one of the thousands of crevices in the Siq (canyon into the hidden city of Petra). A great hike through the ancient city of limestone temples, which honor many ancient cultures - Greek, Roman, Egyptian, pre-Islamic Arabia, Assyrians ... Talk about respect for diversity and multiple faith traditions! The Nabateans clearly had that. 

Ramadan Kariim!!

It was just announced that Ramadan officially starts tomorrow, Monday. Here is a sweet message we received from our host partner, Qasid Institute. 
Dear Denis Sullivan,With the arrival of the month of Ramadan, we will preview changes to the daily routine in Jordan (and throughout the world).
Of the most visible changes will be that nearly all markets  and restaurants are closed for most of the day.   Eating, drinking (and smoking) publicly also become essentially unlawful in light of the fast being observed by over ninety percent of the people.  At sunset, however, city life reawakens in full.  Mosques overflow in the evenings.   Invitations to festive dinners from neighbors, family and friends are common.   Whether you are observing the sacred month or not, we invite you to enjoy the climate of personal purification and social good will and hospitality it entails.   

Here at Qasid, we will provide a room available throughout the day for those not fasting to eat and drink, comfortably. 

A Day with Syrian refugees - outside Za'atari refugee camp and informal farming collective

Friday, the holy day of the week here in Jordan (as with most Arab/Muslim societies), we filled our day with Syrians (all refugees; some working as farm laborers) in the northern Badia (Bedouin, semi-arid region of Jordan).

We started outside the famous/infamous Za'atari refugee camp and the "Freedom Wall" that has become a site where many supporters of the refugees come to write their hopes and dreams on the wall.

Our guide was Ms. Dema Al-Aoun (similar name as our president, Joseph Aoun), a human rights lawyer and someone whose family sponsors nearly 500 Syrian refugees in a system that enables the Syrians to work (legally) as farmers.

After the Freedom Wall, we went to Dema's family farm, met her father (former Brigadier General in Jordan's army, and a successful pediatrician in Amman), and then went to the farm where we met with the leader of these 500 Syrians (an elderly Syrian woman, a "Sheikha" from a rural area of Aleppo, in northern Syria).