Today you will be joining me on my travels to Jordan, Amman. Its already been a month since we have been back and what a wonderful, heartfelt trip this was. Amman is one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world and holds more historical sites than any other place I have been to.
As the sun rises you hear the morning Adhaan (call to prayer), people walking and crossing in the middle of the roads, men leaning against the walls puffing away with their cigarettes all while cars are blasting their horns on the streets. Our first stop was a town which houses Palestinians and Syrian refugees. Some have been living in this town for years and there are others who were still coming in on a daily basis. We were welcomed by young boys playing on the street, where one of them said ‘I love you’ in his best english accent, that made me giggle and awkwardly walk away (Man I can be so awkward). We visited a small soap making store that produced pure olive oil soaps that come along with beautiful packaging, this was set up for the young Palestinian women as a fun activity for them to do while they were being educated on how to read the Qur’an. From here we left to visit a local Masjid (education center) that had taken in Syrian Refugees and were running a basic school and teaching the Qur’an to girls from the ages 6 – 18+. Two girls were chosen to recite a small passage from the Qur’an, and what a beautiful recitation it was. It made me think how privileged I was, to be raised in a society were madrassa was just as important as English school, and how I was taught the Qur’an and the teachings of Islam at such a young age which I now carry around with me proudly at the age of 25. You would think this is the norm for every muslim, but shockingly it isn’t. These girls arrived with no education, did not know how to read the Qur’an until they had attended this school because their privilege was stripped away from them from wherever they came from. And here we are, taking things for granted.
So far I was holding back my tears even though I was getting smiles and laughter from the people I had met so far. The worse was yet to come. Our bright yellow bus made a stop to an area where there was not one person in sight, and plenty of uncompleted buildings, homes and roads. I was already feeling nervous, not knowing what to expect especially as this was all a new experience. We knocked on the door and a woman had greeted us warmly. Once I had walked in I could not hold back the tears, a dark room which slept 10+ people and a side room that was a kitchen and an open bathroom. This was luxury for them and that really got to me, I come from a place where I am guaranteed to get 3 meals a day if not more, a roof on my head, a bed with perfect pillows, a wardrobe full of clothes, and a happy and content life with my partner and family. Then there are these people that don’t have these options and may not ever during this lifetime. This made me sad that they can’t have what I have, I wish I could take these people out of their situation and give them a happy life but unfortunately this is out of my control.
Something I had noticed about these people is that when they saw us or any tourists they did not come running, begging for money or telling us their problems. It was the opposite, they welcomed us with open arms, all full of smiles and laughter, although you could see the pain in their eyes. Their 100% faith in god, and how grateful they were to have a roof over their heads, a plate to eat from and to still have each other even if some family members were left behind or killed. They were happy with what they had and would do anything to make it last. They are taking it day by day, the most we can do is donate where we can and send our prayers to them.
View of Amman, taken under the tree Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūbi (RA) rested before conquering Palestine
Shrine of Zaid bin Haretha (Adopted son of Nabi S.A.W) and Jafar bin Abi Taleb
View of the Dead Sea
Tawaheen al-Hawa Restaurant, Amman
Amman is such a beautiful city to visit, there are many restaurants to eat from, cultural spots and perfect places to capture a golden sunset. It is also a short drive to Palestine and very close to the city of Petra which I will be sharing in the next few posts. I know this post was focused more on helping those in need than the city itself, but I felt that I should share something that was dear to my heart and an experience which I will never forget. These towns are not in the heart of Amman but more on the outskirts of the city and are difficult to get to so I hope I haven’t left you with any hard feelings towards the city. This place was a historical vacation for us, where we fine dined, went for swims, gatecrashed an Arab wedding and enjoyed family time but also did our bit by helping those who we can, whether it was a refugee or the poor on the streets.