I arrived in Jordan by plane, the only way to get there from Lebanon.
Even a little hour away from Beirut, Amman, the capital of the Hashemite Kingdom is completely different. It was like arriving in another world made of dust, sand, dry rocks and wind …
The starting point of the desert …
Here in Jordan, I get to know a completely different situation than in Lebanon.
Both countries have a similar history with Palestine refugees (as they’re bordering the frontiers of Isreal and Palestine) from the late 1940′.
You would expect to find a fucked up situation in this country surrounded by both, Syria, Iraq, Israel and Palestine …Though, Jordan seems to be a calmer place for the people fleeing their homeland… The kingdom feels somehow more stable and peaceful than the little explosive religious and political patchwork that defines Lebanon.
Therefore, here, at the door of the desert, people from many wartorn countries are taking refuge: Syrian, Iraqis, Sudanese, Yemenite, Somalis etc …
It’s not surprising seeing the Zaatari refugee camp 80kms from Amman, being the largest Syrian refugee camp in the world and the fourth biggest ”city” of Jordan.
I start to work here as an English teacher, which was in the straight continuation of my work in Lebanon, even though this time, I was running adults classes.
Most of my students were Iraqis in their mid-30’s-40’s and had an intermediate level. The work consisted to provide them with the necessary and useful topics and grammar skills in English, as the conditional forms, the superlatives, comparatives, modal verbs etc … Every day, I was teaching classes, covering debates topics, new english grammatical forms etc … At the center, English wasn’t the only program running and was part of the several different workshops such as music, computer classes, sewing and embroidering workshop, sports and yoga sessions etc … Ashleigh, the teacher coordinator was even building up a one to one communication program to help the people to practice their English with people worldwide using the internet and the communication platform such as Skype, hangout etc …
The NGO, Collateral Repair Project was established for more than 10 years now and was operating amongst the different refugees’ communities in the country.
The center was based in Hashmi Shamali, a neighborhood of Amman mainly populated by Iraqi.
There we were mainly teaching Iraqis and Syrian but the help was also directed toward the other, less covered refugee populations.
As an instance, we were providing monthly food vouchers for Sudanese population that were a lot less helped than other (mainly because of their skin color and the undercover of the South Sudan war).
Every day 30 to 40 people were coming to the center for diverse services (social help, food vouchers, classes, psychological help, administrative support, kids after school clubs and activities etc …).
Weekly from the classes to the workshops until the donations distributions and vouchers distributions, we were running all over the city and the different area to sustain the work and to provide help where it was the most needed.
At the time, CRP was building up a new center in downtown Amman that could answer the needs of people more efficiently.
As a matter of fact, Hasmi Shamali was a good 5km away from the city center and so, most of the refugees and people based in Amman had to walk a long distance to reach the center which was making things more difficult for them.
Then, the NGO was planning to open a second center to more effectively reach all the population in need.
And even though the help was coming massively from the USA, the needs were still very high.