Jon: If I toss a rock, up to 4 countries may shoot

September 26, 2011

I write to you now not from my apartment or the University but from a cabin in NW Jordan. Yesterday I went in for my first day at my internship and received a last minute invite to the Eco Park I will be focusing on. So early this morning I headed north. On the way Abdel (my supervisor) pointed out two Palestinian refugee camps. Overcrowded, crumbling, and little to no economic sustainability or eco-sustainability I am reminded of the urgency of resolving this conflict.

Our first stop was at a man named Joseph’s house. Foeme (Friends of the Earth Middle East) is assisting this man, along with others, to build up eco-tourist spots. He lives right by the Golem Heights and the border where water is abundant. His town use to be a thriving spot for tourists to come enjoy pools and nature, however after the main tourist local was closed (a businessman bought the property and then closed it down because he was in a fight with the local municipality) the area economically died. The beauty of the region is amazing. Joseph gave us a traditional Jordanian lunch which included pita bread with about 6 different dishes to eat it with. It was delicious. Following lunch he showed us around to different sights which were amazing. I was literally within throwing distance of Israel, Syria, and the Golem Heights at times. Finally we made our way to the Eco park, having to show my ID 7 times at each military outpost to get through.
The Eco-park is 2,700 dunams (675 acres) and is purely amazing. About 20 years ago the land was completely destroyed. There was no top soil, little to no vegetation and what they did have was completely overgrazed by Bedouin families. Now, it is thriving! Birds have returned, vegetation is bringing life back to the area, starting as always from small to large. (I just moved a chair in my lodge and a gecko ran out from under it)

I am now just resting before dinner and our evening but I will get the pictures up asap.

Also, as a ‘whats to come’ I will be here tomorrow as well and then Friday-Sunday I will be visiting Petra, Wadi Rum, and Aqaba!!!

Way down the river to the right is Israel, to the immediate right is Golem Heights, to the left is Jordan and behind me is Syria. The river is the Jordan River.

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