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Jon: Biblical Jordan in need of biblical miracle

October 16, 2011

For those that are anxious for new blogs from the happening place of Jordan, fret no more! For this weekend marked the end of empty weekends. Friday started out at the time every day should, 11:30am. Upon waking up I decided that the day should be holy and have no Arabic in it, as such I spent the entire day smoking argeela and planning my Eid trip.

For those of you who don’t know Eid is a Muslim holiday which results in many Arabs having off that entire week, ergo giving us time to travel. After a day of hard planning I believe I will go to Israel/Palestine for the first few days, visiting Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Be’er Sheva mostly. All of this is so exciting! Brian, my roommate, is preparing for a pretty sweet adventure too as he meets up with a college friend in Istanbul, Turkey for the week. 

Next weekend I will be going on a volunteer trip to a school in northern Amman as well as possibly rock climbing near the Dead Sea, then the next weekend is my Yoga retreat and then Eid!

As far as today… it was amazing. We started off going to the castle ruins where John the Baptist was held prisoner and eventually beheaded. We actually were able to go into his prison! Pictures are to come in the next day or two. Our next stop on this biblical Jordan trip was Mount Nebo, where Moses looked out and saw the promise land, where he struck his staff to the rock and out came water, and also where he is said to have died (although no one has ever found his grave). Basically every plant or rock there was planted, touched, produced, or somehow altered by some famous religious person… or so our tour guide said before he told us where we could go to buy a souvenir (for about $30 more than it should be worth).

Top of St. George’s Church

Next on our path was Maraba which is the mosaic capital of the world basically. We got to see how they are built and some of the oldest one’s in history. We also went inside the church of St. George and I must admit I felt at home. As soon as you walked in I smelt the familiar smell of incense. Looking around I saw all of the traditional Catholic church possessions that I remember playing with at St. Anthony while mom had practices. Being in that church and many of the other sites today did change my feelings for traditions a bit. I was proud to be raised Catholic a bit today, with our great Catholic guilt and long monotone services. Because in the end it is the same across the world and will always make you feel at home.

Lastly, we went to the Jordan river. This is where it got really interesting. The Jordan river is the dividing line between Jordan and Israel/Palestine, and because of improper water conservation use (mostly by Israel) the river has been decreasing in size for the last 70 years. As such the part of the river we went to was only about 3 meters wide. And yes, that means about 3 meters from where we were was the Israeli side of the river with a entrance to the river too. We saw Israeli soldiers (with loaded guns unlike the Jordanians who didn’t have loaded guns) and one Israeli man tried to ask across the river if we were from Amman but no one answered.

And with the mention of water I will end this blog with a brief mention of how my internship is doing. I started out being nervous I wouldn’t be doing a lot or anything important. Well that worry is gone now. I have been assigned to research and produce an education/lobby plan and 20 page research report on garden reform in Jordan… in two weeks and keeping in mind I am only supposed to be doing 10 hours a week. Although a lot, as a senior Political Science major I thought that was manageable. Then I was called in by my other boss. In addition to my water project, Abdel wants me to put together an annual report for the Eco-park. I’ll give you the hint that the outline alone for the report is 4 pages long. Secondly—yes it gets better—he wants to be come up with a complete operational manual for the park! As in a detailed report on daily tasks, maintenance schedules, HR policies, etc etc. For those of you who don’t understand the size of that job, a decent operations manual for a park like that should be at least 100 pages. And what’s my time line you ask? Two weeks. So it has been nice chatting with you all but I will now leave and see you in two weeks when I will be as close to dead as one can be. But then again I’m in the right region, maybe I’ll rise from the dead or some other miracle!

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