First day nerves have taken hold of my body. My shoulders are tense, I’m hyper-aware and self conscious as I climb the stairs for my first day at CRP. I try to practice some Arabic in my head, but it all goes out the window as I’m greeted by friendly staff members who quickly show me around. I start conversations with several people, small talk and introductions. Shadha stands up as I’m mid-sentence. “We have a training now,” she says. “Are you coming?”
I follow her over to the adjacent room, where everyone is sitting in bright red plastic chairs, arranged in a circle. Danya, a Mercy Corps Adviser, is here, and she explains that as part of a staff development training series at CRP, she’s going to lead us in a mediation practice. She starts off in Arabic, and I’m instantly impressed by her language skills, which slowly fade away as she starts using words that have no direct translation. Mindfulness. Mental silence. Sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system.
Saddam jumps in, and as we close our eyes, their words dance back and forth. English and Arabic. My mind wanders, resisting the objective, as I try to match Saddam’s translations with Danya’s directions. I feel the Amman heat creep in and settle. The “gas man” breaks the silence. Tinny music playing from the delivery truck and his amplified voice intrude on the minimal meditating I’m managing. Danya continues. Saddam’s words fade away as even more time passes. I cheat and open my eyes slightly to see he has fallen asleep, the combination of the heat, fasting, and mediation overpowering him. Silence descends and I feel wind from the open window behind me play across my neck.
Clarity finds me, and my nerves dissipate. The call to prayer begins, and I feel certain that, thankfully, I’m in exactly the right place at exactly the right time.
In addition to my weekly blogs, I will publish occasional “microblogs” highlighting particular moments or experiences of my time in Amman.
Posted By Allyson Hawkins (Jordan)
Posted Jun 22nd, 2016