Climbing a pedestal at the Amman Citadel in Jabal, Amman. The view was even better from there compared to on the mountain itself
My friend Meg sitting in the bed of a truck, on our drive on the cliffs of the wadis south of
Amman. This was probably the most insane experience of my life. Feeling like we were on the verge of falling to our deaths from the cliffs made me feel alive. Ironic right?
My friend Kelly also sitting in the back of the truck. I just had to capture her pure happiness from the moment. We blasted Moroccan and Egyptian pop music all the way up the mountain with wind in our hair and desert dust in our eyes
The view from a 60 foot cliff in Wadi Al-Sayalta. We didn’t jump into the pond below, but our Hydroflasks did. Using 0.5 on an iPhone has never been so useful.
A picture of my friends and in one of the wadi rivers after we repelled down a waterfall with ropes.
My friends and I seconds before our stuff flew into the lake from the wind.
Feeling grateful for the priceless opportunity to not only see such a breathtaking place, but also live in it and feel it: feel the warm water, taste the “mallooh” leaves, breath in some dust, and hear absolute silence being far from the busy city of Amman.
My first look at the view below from the cliffs. What is so cool about the wadis is that from
above you can only see a mix of tans and rocks. When you actually go below into the valleys, you discover an oasis of blues and greens, life moving on under the cover.
A glimpse of one of the most meaningful things I have experienced in my life—and for free. Most things that our wondrous and worth remembering are not made of money. This is the night concert of a refugee festival on Rainbow Street near downtown.
The refugee festival was run by JRS (Jesuit Refugee Service), who have a location close to
Rainbow Street. I was able to capture the joy and laughter of group of Somalian men in the crowd close to me. Their energy made me want to dance more.
Two musicians playing classical Iraqi music at the festival. The sounds they created
reminded me of my grandfather who played violin in the Iraqi symphony and always plays
classical Iraqi music really loud in his house in Philly.
Some cats I spotted on the way back from my family’s house. The street cats all over
Amman have become a normal and reoccurring part of my day. I won’t ever stop saying hi to them.
My friends Milkay and Kelly discovering more cool cafes with me. Arabic homework just
looks better in a pretty place.
Some Arabic records stacked up in a Friday souq (market) near wasat al balad. It reminded
me of the farmers markets in Florida but more extensive with an opportunity for me to use my Arabic skills to bargain.
A local Iraqi artists’ paint setup at the souq. I love to get to talk to artists in arabic about
their origins and skills.
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In less than 24 hours, I found myself going from dancing and conversing at a refugee festival to getting muddy and dusty in Wadi Al-Sayalta. I am one to get out a lot, and this is a whole new level that is invigorating. After walking into the refugee festival, we took a look at all the booths filled with information of where the refugees are from. I got to talk with the man from the Iraq booth and ended up saying “salam alaykum” ten times throughout the performances.
It was amazing to see refugees and their work in action in Amman. A calligrapher writing a young girl’s name and women hand weaving traditional hand bags. My friends and I ended up talking to a Rahim, a refugee from Sudan for an hour. My friend Kelly got to talk to a teacher in Korean. I got to practice my Iraqi with the JRS director. The mix of cultures in one room was heart-warming, especially when I have wanted to see this my whole life. The dozens of conversations we had amongst children play tug of war and woman making art is something I will remember forever.
The concert was the coolest part because of all of the Middle Eastern music and energy. There were people of all ethnicities doing the dances. There was dabke, somali dancing, Zumba dancing, traditional Iraqi music, and Sudanese band music. It was a treasure to be in the middle of all of it. It was beyond beautiful to see refugees from all over the Middle East and North Africa come together for a common cause despite differences in language, customs, religion, and culture.