My last week in Amman has been a really great one. I've just started working more with a coworker named Hadi, and he's been great to work with.
There are a few things about Hadi that make him awesome. First of all, he loves to teach, and takes every opportunity possible to teach me something about the Arabic language and his culture. He once sat me down and talked to me about the Qur'an for an hour in the middle of the work day. He would tell me to turn to a page, and then recite it from memory as I followed along in the text. It was actually a really cool experience. People in western countries, myself included, have a very limited understanding of Islam, so I cherish every opportunity to learn a thing or two about this religion.
Hadi is a great teacher because he speaks better English than anyone else in the office, so we can communicate in both languages. He helps me out whenever I need to know a new Arabic phrase, or when I'm having trouble understanding other colleagues. Hadi picked up English when he lived in California for a few years. He loves to tell me about the "small village of Bakersfield" that he lived in. Now, he works in the Societies/Charities department coordinating social projects with NGOs.
Hadi is also probably the most entertaining coworker in the ministry. He loves using English swear words and saying what's up in his best American accent.
He has many friends living in Palestine, and he has a lot of interesting stories about their lives. Hadi is part Palestinian; his mother's family is from there, yet he has never been able to visit the country. His family once owned land there, but it now belongs to Israel, technically. Hearing stories like this has given me more perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I almost feel guilty having visited Palestine, while so many Palestinians living in Jordan are unable to visit.
Hadi also recently introduced to me an awesome project that he's working on, and I get to be a part of it. An NGO called Sisterhood Is Global Institute (SIGI) approached the ministry with the idea of making a 13 episode mini-series about life for women in Jordan. The ministry signed on to provide some financial support, but we are now working to find other sources of funding.
We will be working for the next several weeks to spread the word about this project in order to give it a little more exposure. I'm excited about this project because much of the western world knows very little about life in the Middle East, and they know even less about the lives of women.
Today Hadi and I met with a freelance reporter from the UK to give her some information about the project. This reporter focuses on women's issues, and we are hoping to give her examples of how the ministry is helping to empower Jordanian women. We also discussed potential subjects for the mini-series. The ministry employs a lot of women, and many of the representatives of the NGOs that we work with are women.
I'll keep everyone updated on how this project goes! I only have a few more weeks here at the ministry, but hopefully we are able to get the ball rolling in the next week or two. I can't wait to see the finished product.