May 4, 2010
|Hard to believe I've been here for 6 months, and I'm already done with 4 months of service; time has flown by. Even though it was amazing month, I don't have a full top 10.
9. At the center I've been teaching university students. It's just through June. I teach a group of mostly girls two days a week, and two different days I teach a group of shebab (young/unmarried men). It's a conversational class. While some people are relatively advanced, I take at a basic level, because they can all use a little improvement.Because it was organized by a group of university students, I focus it on topics relevant to university students. It's pretty fun, and it's a bit of a thrill having university students refer to me as "Miss" (title used for female teachers here). The only issue has been the formality of the relationship with the shebab class. With the girls, it's relaxed, and conversation flow easily. With the shebab I want the same dynamic,but social norms makes it a balancing act.
8. I went to Amman a lot this month (3 times, spendy, hopefully will not happen again). The second time I stayed the night at my landlady's sister's house, with my landlady, and two of her sisters. I had stomach issues the night before, but since I felt ok in the morning, I went ahead with the trip. I over exerted myself during the day, and by the evening time I felt sick again. My "sisters'" remedy... fried chicken, french fries and Pepsi.Funny thing is I actually felt better for about 2 hours, but in the early hours of the morning... well, you get the point.
7. I had gone into Amman for #7 because of a Flag Football game... I am on the Peace Corps team. It was our first game, and it was against the defending league champions, the Department of Defense. The American community in Amman/Jordan has a flag football league going, it's a way to get some riada (sport) in. I've only gotten to play the one game, since I'm so far away. I hopefully will get to play 2 more (1 more regular season, and 1 play offs).
6. Helping with a house party for a tour group from New Zealand. Suzanne and I were enlisted to help cook, serve, and clean up after 30 people from New Zealand. Her landlord is a tour guide, and he had arranged to give a traditional dinner at his house. While we didn't do much with the food, we did entertain the guests, and the family's little kids, and then spent 2 hours doing dishes (okay, maybe 1.5 hours). Our reward... The next night was the dinner at the bedouin camp outside of town. It was a lot of fun, we got to eat mendi (chicken and vegetables cooked in an underground oven), dubka (traditional circle/line dance), and watch a group of high school boys perform traditional music and dance, and watch them play with fireworks. Suzanne's friend who had just finished her service in PC Zambia joined us.
5. Another Amman trip was connected to spending Easter in Madaba. It was my first trip to Madaba. Madaba has a pretty even split between Christians and Muslims. My village is all Muslim, minus the 2 Christian families. The nearest churches are in Aqaba and Karak, which are both over an hour away, so I don't get to church. It was nice to go to service, dress up, and be normal.The service was all in Arabic, and Catholic, but I actually got the jist, and picked out the right time to say the Lord's Prayer. I also had a great visit, staying in a village very close to Madaba with another volunteer, and good friend.
Oh, and with Lent over, I feasted on chicken and shawarma.
4. My village mate came back after going back to the States to deal with a family emergency. It's great to have her back.She's important in my support system.
3. Our living allowance went up (for the 1st time in 10 years). Living allowance readjustments require a 75% or higher return rate on the living allowance surveys, with evidence that a raise is needed. We lucked out, 76% return rate, and we got a JD17 raise. JD17 can be nearly 3 weeks food, or 17 dvd's, or a trip to Aqaba (including bus ride, lunch at a real restaurant, and buying a purse in the sooq). It also helps go towards things we have to save up for, like replacing things in our wardrobe, or haircuts... things like that.
2. I am 23 now (5th time I've mentioned that since 4/28). Nothing special about the number, but it was my 1st birthday abroad/in Jordan. My landlady called me at 6:28 am,my birthtime, to wish me happy birthday. She actually stayed awake after morning prayer (at 5am) so she wouldn't sleep through it. Her birthday was earlier this month, and it was her 1st birthday without her mother, so I did the things her mom did for her on her birthday. I had told her someone always wished me birthday at 6:28, so she took it upon herself to do it for me.
1. The National Physical Education Youth Games!!! The Youth Development (YD) volunteers from Peace Corps, in conjunction with the Higher Council for Youth and the Jordan Olympic Committee put on the games for centers with PC volunteers. We all brought 6-8 kids from our centers, split them up into 10 teams (5 girls teams, 5 boys teams), and had football/soccer and basketball tournaments, and a track meet. The purpose of the games is to foster the value of teamwork and sportsmanship. It also serves as a great example of girls being active, and doing the same things guys do. In fact,we had more girls participate than boys. Part of that is because there were more girls centers participating, but it's a big deal that parents allow their teenage daughters to go away from home for 4 days to play sports [with shebab nearby]. The volunteers also got to hang out together a lot. It's how I celebrated my birthday. My girls did well. While they weren't the best players, they exhibited great sportsmanship. They also showed up for 2 official practices before the games, and various soccer sessions behind our center. Definitely the highlight of the month (more than my birthday)!