In exactly 3 months from the time of writing this Yak we will be boarding a plane for Amman! Exams, the fall semester, and snow will be a thing of the past and sunny, rainy, warm, cold, beautiful , amazing Jordan will be approaching at the end of a long flight. This is my fifth consecutive year going to Jordan in March, my fourth bringing Milton students, and best of all my fourth year working with Elley (who you will meet in a future Yak post). This trip is also a special trip as my daughter, Madeline (grade 7) will be coming to Jordan for her first Middle East trip, and two students from my Jordan 2 (Jana) and Jordan 3(Zac) trips are making a return visit! This is also the largest group I have ever taken to Jordan. All things which will make this year’s experience new and different.
Why Jordan? I first visited the Kingdom of Jordan in 1997 as a Peace Corps volunteer. I spent my first three months in a homestay (similar to the one that you will experience in Wadi Rum) in the village of Khatabiyya which is on the road from Madaba to Mount Nebo. after my homestay, I lived for two years in the village of Iraq Al-Amir in Wadi Seer just northeast of the Dead Sea working with the Queen Noor al-Hussein Foundation helping develop a craft village run by women. Since leaving the Peace Corps in 1999 I have returned to the Middle East (leading a Milton trip to Egypt in 2006) and to Jordan in particular. For me the beauty of Jordan is not in its ancient architecture (as is the case in Yemen or Egypt), but in its people, customs/culture, and the physical beauty of the country. The longer you stay in Jordan, the more times you visit, the more people and places you visit, the more the country and people invite you into their spaces and the more they share.
I am excited to land in Amman, and experience Jordan again through the eyes of 15 students.