Jordan

Notes and photos shared by Deerfield students traveling in Jordan.

<<< Back to Notes from Abroad

Deerfield in the Desert: Final Reflections on the Jordan Trip

Last week, Deerfield’s six student delegates to the Round Square Conference returned from ten days in Jordan. If you missed any of the photos or reflections from the trip, check out the trip blog and Flickr slideshow.

English teacher Anna Steim, who served as one of the trip leaders, offers this final reflection on the experience:

And so we are back. I sit in the Academy library under a portrait of Mrs. Boyden and look out the window on a torrential downpour of clean, cold rain. How far away Jordan feels from this lush, idyllic valley. There is little tangible that remains of the ten-day trip from which six students, two faculty colleagues, and I just returned: the smell of Arabic coffee clinging to the lining of my carry-on, the layer of red-orange dust from Petra powdering my sneakers. As I write, I am conscious that the members of our group – such a brief time ago tied by the thread of profound mutual experience – are moving about their lives all across campus: perhaps one is at practice, another hidden away here in the library, a third catching a much needed nap before dinner. I can’t but wonder what thoughts are in their heads now that we have been reabsorbed into the wheel of daily life at Deerfield. What have they brought back with them from Jordan?

The Arch of Hadrian in ancient Jerash Photo Credit: David Miller

Prior to our departure abroad, we asked the students to read a series of articles on Jordan, Deerfield alumnus HM King Abdullah II, and King’s Academy, where, particularly meaningfully for us, the Round Square International Conference was held this year. The students read what they could in that crunch time before we left, but it wasn’t until we landed in and began seeing the country that they began to build a contextual framework of the place. After the first leg of our trip, during which we visited the Greco-Roman city of Jerash in the north of Jordan, saw Amman’s city center, and looked out over the Jordan Valley, the Dead Sea, and the West Bank from the vantage point of Mount Nebo, we discussed the readings we had given them: Eugene Rogan’s articulation of the mutual misunderstanding between the Arab world and the West, the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict, Islamophobia in the post-9/11 world, stereotypes of Arabs, and the influence of media in influencing our vision of the Middle East. We also discussed the unique and urgent role of King’s Academy. Founded in 2007, King’s was born of His Majesty’s desire to build a school for the development of a new generation of leaders for the region. In 2006, The New Yorker published an article about the imminent opening of King’s entitled “Deerfield in the Desert”; it was not until we arrived in Jordan and began scratching the surface of the region’s complexities that the students began to grasp that King’s Academy is not simply a copy of their school. Having lived in Jordan and taught at King’s for two years, I felt strongly that they move into the next phase of the trip – the conference itself at King’s – with an awareness of the school and its context. I needn’t have worried about our students. It was clear in this discussion that they were poised to ask questions, keen to learn, and ready to make no assumptions about their surroundings. Their circumspection and sensitivity was impressive.

RS Delegates 10 12 14 MillerUpon our return to Massachusetts, Quentin Jeyaretnam wrote, “Jordan, to me, used to be like the life jacket below an airplane seat. I knew it existed, I knew it was important, but it had never really affected me before, nor had I any reason to concern myself with it.” Traveling to Jordan and attending the Round Square conference – the theme of which was “Al Salamu Alaikum,” or “Peace Be With You” – allowed our students not only to understand more about the Middle East, but also to talk with their peers about the complicated issues of which they were becoming aware. As Jeffrey Sun put it, “The fact that this conference was situated in Jordan, surrounded by many major, ongoing conflicts…provided a sense of urgency, an overwhelming feeling of responsibility that you can’t just simply push away.” And our students found that their peers from around the world were ready to rise to that responsibility. Ally Edwards wrote, “Never have I been in a room with so many kids my age excited to speak their minds on the events happening around them.” She went on: “The students I met at King’s and from around the world are some of the most motivated and enthusiastic kids I have ever encountered. All of them are determined to change the region that they live in and somehow establish peace.” Arianne Evans was similarly struck: “I found that the students at King’s were more aware of current news and conflicts than most teenagers I know in the US. I noticed that the students at King’s were eager and passionate for change.” In a place where land disputes, extremism, refugee pressure, and a lack of water and other natural resources are local, and escalating, realities, it is difficult not to be affected, and difficult to remain disengaged. Now that we are back in our quiet, green valley though, will we be able to hold onto that fire?

Madaba Ally and schoolgirls RS Service ProjectThe answer is this: maybe yes, maybe no. Every time I leave Jordan and come home to central Massachusetts, it is difficult for me to imagine life going on there. And the same is true going the other way: when we were in Jordan last week, life here felt far away. So, it is possible that, between Calculus and co-curriculars, we will lose some of that urgency we felt when we learned that Jordan has 70 years of water security, or when we drove past Baqa’a refugee camp, home to over 100,000 displaced Palestinians. Still, I am confident that this experience will stay with us. Upon our return, Hannah Casey wrote, “One of the greatest values of the conference was gaining a better understanding of what it means to be a global citizen…I realized that as much as I read and learn about a place or country, it is not the same as visiting, meeting the people, and experiencing the traditions. It isn’t as simple as I originally thought. It takes an incredible level of discomfort.” It is for the growth that arises from that discomfort that we go on trips, and it is that growth, that enriched perspective, that we bring back with us to DA. Serena Ainslie wrote, “One thing that I was reminded of at this conference was how incredibly lucky I am to be at such an amazing school with such motivated students, engaging teachers, and a warm community. In my many conversations I had with students from across the world, I was reminded that not all schools are like Deerfield.”

King's Flags 10 12 14 MillerDr. Curtis reminds us often of Frank Boyden’s remark, “The test of worth of any school…is the record of service of her alumni.” His Majesty is an exemplar of service; he saw a need for a school like King’s Academy, and he built one. Providentially, in their time visiting that very school he established, our DA students saw that they themselves have not only the capability to see needs too, but also voices with which to address them. The students have committed to a number of action items now that they have returned to campus; they are even discussing the possibility of putting together of their own mini-conference in the spring with local schools. We, as a community, are eager to see the ways in which this group of students will serve, and, in so doing, bring the desert back to Deerfield.

 

 

 

 

 

 

With Greater Optimism: Jordan 10

Serena Ainslie ’16 finds inspiration in the story of a Syrian student’s optimism: 

Our last day in Jordan was full of inspiring speakers and thought provoking discussion. We started off the day hearing the life story of a Syrian King’s Academy student who has been kidnapped not once, not twice, but three times. He tugged at the crowd’s heart strings with his accounts of the psychological torture he was put through by both the Syrian government and the Syrian rebel army in his kidnappings. What struck me about this young man’s speech was not only his courage but also his amazing optimism regarding the entire situation. He says that while he knows he was not lucky to be kidnapped, he feels that because God gave him the strength to endure the experiences, he has an obligation and a desire to return to Syria once he’s properly educated and change the country’s path. During the time of the kidnappings he was not attending school, but after his second kidnapping experience he began desperately pursuing an education out of Syria. His passion for learning was inspiring, for a great education is something that we often take for granted. This young man felt so blessed upon his acceptance to King’s Academy, and treasures each day here in a way that reminded me to appreciate each of my days at Deerfield. He also encouraged me to look at situations with greater optimism. While I am fortunate enough never to have been through the struggles that this boy has, like him I hope to come away from tough situations thinking about what I can take away from them, and what I can do to alleviate the suffering of others in the future.

Sunset on return from Dead Sea 10 9 14 Miller

Photo Credit: David Miller

Hiking Petra: Jordan 9

Arianne Evans ’16 marvels at the history and beauty of Petra: 

Today was the day that we have all been waiting for: Petra!  Since we arrived in Jordan people have been raving about this ancient city carved in the rocks.  The delegates have been eyeing the schedule and counting down the days till we could finally see it for ourselves.  Let me tell you, this was not the average walk that some of us were expecting; it was a hike, but the payoff was priceless.

Welcome to Petra 10 11 14 Miller

Photo Credit: David Miller

We woke up before the sun and before we knew it, we were off on our day’s adventure.  As we entered the gates, donkeys and horses greeted us with colorful decorations on their backs, and the views all around us were mesmerizing.  There were carvings in the faces of the rocks for places of worship, living and burials.  Little openings into the caves could be seen everywhere, which were made by the Crusaders, who were the last to live in this hidden place before the Bedouins.

Photo Credit: David Miller

Photo Credit: David Miller

Then we entered this pathway they call the Siq, which is similar to a narrow canyon. The towering walls on both sides were streaked with hundreds of different colors and when the guide asked whether we thought it was man made or natural almost half of us raised our hands for the first option, but the second was true. 

Photo Credit: David Miller

Photo Credit: David Miller

 

We continued down the curvy dirt road until there was an opening to this spectacular sight called the Treasury.   It is a temple or a tomb carved out of solid rock and stands over forty meters high.  Along with the sight our noses were accompanied by the smell of camels and donkeys waiting to carry people to the next spot. 

Photo Credit: David Miller

Photo Credit: David Miller

We pushed on and met with the rest of our group for the day, which consisted of the delegates from the Kenyan international school and a boy named Thomas from a school in British Colombia who joined us.  It was not long until Mr. Miller was talking to Thomas about doing exchange and referring to his current school as his “old school.”

As the views got better the stairs got steeper.  I guess that’s how it usually goes when it comes to hiking.  But group two was filled with troopers and as a team we marched up that trail until we reached the Monastery at the top.  And wow, was it worth it.  It felt like we were in another time period as I stared into the valley and observed the carvings in the rock.

Vew of Petra 10 11 14 Evans

Photo Credit: Arianne Evans

On the way down we met a teacher from King’s Academy who went to Deerfield for a year as a Post Graduate.  It was cool to talk with someone from Jordan about our common experiences and teachers like Ms. Hannay and Mrs. Friends.  Then I realized that tomorrow is our last day and although I am loving every minute here at the so-called “Deerfield in the Desert,” I am missing our home at the “King’s in the Woods.”

Photo Credit: David Miller

Photo Credit: David Miller

 

Lives of Privilege: Jordan 8

Quentin Jeyaretnam ’16 reflects on the different privileges that have shaped him: 

Our experiences of today shape our stories of tomorrow. In the near future, we will look back on our experiences here at the Round Square conference, reminiscing about old times and old friends, but most importantly realizing what a privilege it was to be here. Our lives are full of different privileges, molding our experiences and creating our stories.

The third day of the Round Square conference started off in our different Barazza groups. My group was joined by a King’s Academy teacher, Mr. Omer, who shared his experiences with us, focusing on the privileges he has experienced throughout his life. He talked of his boyhood days, living in a single room with his 5 brothers, where he couldn’t speak a word of Arabic and was forced into the local Jordanian school system. He couldn’t understand any of his classes, and grew tired and frustrated with school. He was so fond of skipping school that he had turned it into an art form. One day he was too sick, another he was too tired; the excuses never ended. It was only when his father finally snapped at him, yelling at him through a car window about the importance of education, that Omer realized the privilege he had of being able to receive an education.

Omer posed the question, “What are your privileges?” Frankly, I was stumped. I had never given my own privilege much thought; it had always been my norm. I was born into a fairly well-off family, went to good schools, went on nice holidays, and always came back to a loving parents. I was not stuck in a room of 6 guys, lucky to have even one meal a day like Omer. Things had always come easy for me, and so I never considered how fortunate I was. Going to the prestigious Deerfield Academy, having a roof over my head, even just having a family make me more privileged than many, many people.

Later that night, we were at the “Bedouin experience” camp.  The Bedouins are nomadic Arabs of the desert, and so we were seated in tents, listening to local music and eating local food, as if we were part of their tribe. However, I don’t believe that these outings to tourist sites are what this Round Square trip is all about, as that would turn this trip into a holiday, which it is most definitely not. What Round Square is all about is promoting peace and understanding, a culture of sharing and appreciation. It was with the conversations and discussions with other students that I truly got to experience this. At dinner, after eating some food and dancing to the local music, we sat down with some local King’s Academy students, Rami and James, to discuss the conference so far. We ended up talking for close to an hour, discussing ISIS, the Hong Kong protests, the Occupy movement, and, surprisingly, co-curriculars offered at Deerfield. This kind of discussion, where we could be honest with our opinions and spark actual debate, was where the ideals of Round Square really shone through.

Through open discussion with people from all sorts of different backgrounds, cultures, and privileges, we can strive for peace and understanding. After all, Round Square is about engaging in a global dialogue, and what better way to start achieving that than to be honest with each other.

Quentin at Petra 10 11 14 Miller

Shobak Castle and Petra: Jordan 7

Today the Round Square delegation traveled to Shobak Castle and Petra to visit some of Jordan’s most spectacular sights.  Check out the latest additions to our Flick photo album, as well as some of the short videos the group has taken during their trip so far!

View from Shobak 10 10 14 Miller

Inspired to Learn: Jordan 6

Ally Edwards ’17 describes what she learned from a young student in Madaba and how much fun it is to swim in the Dead Sea:

Marhaba from King’s Academy! Today was our third day of the Round Square Conference in Jordan and also happened to be our service day.  I woke up bright and early, ready to start what would be a very busy day. My service project was to go to an all girls public school in Madaba, a small city in Jordan. We arrived promptly at 8:30, prepared to work. We were to renovate the school’s classrooms by cleaning, painting, and putting up new white boards for the teachers to use. When I first saw the school, I was initially saddened that this was a place where girls learned. The windows were so filthy one could barely see out, and the classrooms were covered with trash, making it difficult to study the lesson of the day. It was hard to imagine growing up in this type of classroom and feeling enthusiastic about learning since I am fortunate enough to attend a school with state of the art facilities. Before I could contemplate this subject any more, five girls from the school came up to me and guided me to their classroom.

Although the school obviously faces many challenges, the girls could not have been happier to help with the whole process.  We started right away by sanding all the walls down and cleaning glass of the windows. Then we began painting the classroom’s walls, as well as the concrete courtyard in the front of the school, a bright shade of yellow.  I was assigned to painting parts of the classroom, so one other girl and I decided to paint the ceiling without a ladder, relying instead on just an extended paintbrush, since that was the one tool we brought to paint with. I quickly regretted what I had volunteered to do. My brain had not measured the consequences of this job, as paint globs from the ceiling started to fall on my partner and me. Laughing I headed outside to clean up and accidentally bumped into one of the students, Sara. She looked to be around 10 years old and wanted me to teach her English.  I sat down with Sara and taught her some of the basics like “My name is…” and “I am from…”. I loved talking with Sara because I could see in her eyes how excited she was to learn.

Madaba Ally and Sara RS Service Project

By noon, we had replaced all the light bulbs, painted the classrooms, and cleaned the windows. I took a picture with Sara and wished her luck in her future studies.  Meeting Sara and seeing her school really made me think that, although it is extremely nice to have great buildings and classrooms to learn in, it is more important to be inspired to learn and have the desire to know more.

The morning service project was a rewarding experience, and I was super excited for the activity in the afternoon: swimming in the Dead Sea! We hopped on the bus and could barely contain our excitement. After arriving at the beach, we dropped our stuff and spread mud all over ourselves. Within minutes, we were floating in the Dead Sea! It was one of the most unreal experiences I have had in my life. It was the perfect way to relax after a morning of hard work. What a day. Off to Petra tomorrow!

Dead Sea Delegates and Miller

Building an International Community: Jordan 5

Hannah Casey ’15 reflects on the meaningful conversations she’s had so far:

We just concluded our second day at the Round Square Conference at King’s Academy. Today was filled with engaging speakers who shared their ideas on education and economic reform as the avenues to create peace in a country. After each of these speakers ,we met in Barazza groups, which are small groups of students and faculty from the different schools at the conference. The purpose of the Barazza group is to create an environment where people can ask tough questions and where everyone is encouraged to share his or her ideas. In my first Barraza group we talked in depth about education reform. Who should take action? What are some of the causes that inhibit people from receiving an education and how can we address those issues? What role should the government play in all of this?

In my second Barazza group we considered the idea shared by the speaker that economic reform can lead to peace in a country. We first had to pull apart “economic reform.” We wondered whether that meant more money for more people, giving people jobs and teaching them skills to make their own living, or something else entirely. We discussed each meaning of economic reform and if we thought it could potentially bring peace. This was my favorite group meeting of the day; there were many disagreements about every point, but because everyone in my group could articulate and support their ideas, I found myself reconsidering some of the points I had made during the discussion.

By far, the best part of my second day was the international dinner and talent show. Outside of the dining hall booths were set up with traditional food from over 15 countries. I ate some Jordanian shawarma, Chinese spring rolls, and Mexican nachos. I decided to pass on the American hotdogs. After the dinner we made our way to the auditorium where watched African boot dancing, listened to a Kenyan folk tale about how the zebra got its stripes, and listened to an amazing song about peace from a school from Switzerland. Tonight helped me realize that the point of the conference is to be exposed to other cultures and through this exposure build an international community of our own. Tomorrow we go on service projects and to “swim” in the Dead Sea!

P.S. Guess how King’s Academy starts each sit down meal. “For food, for friendship, for the blessings of the day we give thanks…amen!” Sound familiar?

King's Sit Down Finan 10 7 14 Miller

The Round Square Conference Begins: Jordan 4

Today marked the opening of the 2014 Round Square International Conference at King’s Academy.  Jeffrey Sun ’17 discusses some of the Round Square ideals that he observed during his first day of the conference: 

“You learn more from traveling a thousand miles than reading ten thousand scrolls.” My experience during the first day at the beautiful King’s Academy can certainly be summarized by this ancient proverb. While the rich history and fascinating statistics helped me get to know Jordan, the people I have met and will meet, along with their unique stories, will be the most valuable treasure that I can bring home with me from the Round Square conference.

I was greeted by Jamshid, a King’s Academy sophomore from Afghanistan, as I stepped into the Nihal dormitory. He told me to drop off my luggage and walk around with him, to which I happily agreed because of the Academy’s gorgeous campus. As we walked under the lush trees that canopied the steps leading up to the Academy building, Jamshid told me about his background and why he chose to study at King’s. He said that his father works as a driver and his mother stays at home. His seven brothers all received public education in Afghanistan, and were planning to join the army or the police force as soon as they graduate from high school. But Jamshid has a different plan. He told me about his understanding of the government’s incompetence and the conflicts with the Taliban. Jamshid looked me straight in the eyes and asked, “Who is going to help protect Afghanistan’s people if the government keeps backing down?” Answering his own question, he said, “Me. I really want to be involved in politics and fix things up, and that is why I am the only person in my family, or in my village rather, that has the courage to study abroad.” I believe that is true leadership –– the kind of drive that enables one to take great risks and to make substantial changes.

Walking across the greens, a tall girl named Adeer approached me. Her hands were dripping with paint, and I dodged swiftly as she attempted a high-five. Adeer comes from Venezuela, but she is also part Jordanian. I was delighted to hear that she started her own business project in Guangzhou, China during a summer. She confidently said, “You know why I did it? It was because I had the skills, and I just felt like it. I’m just awesome like that!” She laughed and walked away. Isn’t that what adventure is all about? Adeer believed in herself and just went for it, and learned more about her own capabilities in the end.

Gurpartap is a junior from Vivek High School in India. He introduced himself to me and invited me into his room. Catching my glimpse at his silky, turquoise turban, he explained to me the difference between Arab and Indian turbans. “The front is pointy on an Indian turban,” he said. Gurp then continued to tell me about Sikhism. Almost as if he prepared a speech, Gurpartap started with the 15th century founding of the young religion, and described the main practices of Sikhism. I learned that Sikhs were to respect and protect all who believe in God, regardless of form or origin. They were also religious warriors who promoted values like chivalry and forgiveness. I came out of his room with new knowledge and insights. Part of internationalism and cultural understanding comes from this kind of “global dialogue,” as the Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah said in his message to the Round Square delegates.

Just as Queen Anne-Marie of Greece said at the opening ceremony, we will continue to “honor our differences and pursue peace.” I will personally seek for more treasures of knowledge and understanding within this “oasis of diversity.”

 

Welcoming and Curious: Reflections from the First Day (Jordan 3)

After a day of exploration, the six Round Square delegates share their reflections on the culture and community they discovered in Jordan:

Jeffrey Citadel Amman 10 6 14 MillerAlly Edwards ’17: When I first learned I would be going to Jordan, I immediately thought of a desert plateau built up with small houses of Jordanians and many refugee camps with people coming from Palestine and Syria. My assumption that Jordan was a flat desert land was negated almost immediately; in the first five minutes of our bus ride to Jerash, I could see that Jordan was nothing but hills. The hills did not have much green on them, but they produced incredible valleys and inspired a sense of awe.One of the other things I noticed about in Jordan was the sense of community here. As we climbed to look at famous ruin of the Artemis Temple, a cry let out that could be heard from miles away. This cry turned into a song that was being used as a Call to Prayer.  This mesmerizing and enchanting song was heard by everyone living in the boundaries of the city, which I think brought a sense of community I have never experienced before. My first day was a warn welcome into the rich culture of Jordan.

Snacks in Amman Group 10 6 14 MillerHannah Casey ’15: Experiencing Jordan for the first time was incredible.  Of all my experiences today, the one that struck me most was my time in downtown Amman. Our guide pointed out how we saw no homeless people while walking around. He explained that, in Jordan, family is one of the most important things in their lives and that very few people in Jordan are homeless because their families will usually support and take care of them. Family is very important to me, and by hearing and seeing this I immediately felt more connected with the country and the people.

The group enjoys lunch at a Lebanese restaurant in Jerash. Photo Credit: David Miller

Quentin Jeyaretnam ’16: Imagine a million flavours in your mouth at once. Perfect complements of parsley, tomatoes, garlic and olive oil, surrounded by a soft, warm piece of pita bread. You take another bite, this time of that falafel, or that hummus, or that shawarma, all of it tasting absolutely delicious. To me, the thing that really struck me about Jordan was its food. Everything tasted so fresh, as if it had been handpicked that day just for my enjoyment. The meat was moist and juicy, spiced to perfection, local lamb and chicken that the Jordanians loved so much. Even the culture around food and dining was so distinctly unique and fun. At dinner tonight, many people were up dancing to live music, and the atmosphere was so intoxicating that Jeffrey couldn’t resist getting up and joining them.

Jerash Pan 10 6 14 MillerSerena Ainslie ’16: On top of a fascinating tour of Jerash, a breathtaking panoramic view of Amman from the Citadel, a delicious Lebanese lunch, and a quick stop at Amman’s bustling city center, my first day in Jordan was chalk full of conversations about this amazing country with our tour guide, Ra’ed. When I asked Ra’ed about the public education in Jordan, I was expecting him to say it was both strong and accessible because of the country’s impressive literacy rate of about 98%. Interestingly enough, he told me that public schools in Jordan are extremely weak and unreliable. Most public high school students do not pass the exam one takes at the end of his high school schooling, showing that teachers are not preparing students well. Teachers are also very transient, often staying in a school for only a couple of months before going to a new one, leaving some classes without teachers indefinitely. Even public universities have drawbacks, such as a relatively new law forcing public universities to charge for tuition that many students formerly hoping to attend cannot pay. Conversely, the private education of the country is very strong, explaining why 20% of the population attends private schools. I hope to learn more about this important issue and contemplate ways Jordan could better provide its population with education.

Jerash town view 10 6 14 MillerArianne Evans ’16: As the group stood in line for customs, I soon realized that there were no women working behind the counters – or anywhere else in the airport.  I continued to see the lack of women working throughout the next day in Jerash and in Amman, the capital city.  When I asked our tour guide about this, he told us that only 35% of women worked in Jordan.  This was shocking to me, and as I looked at the women walking by with everything covered but their eyes, I wondered how it felt to live in a county with these kinds of statistics.  As we sat at dinner and the Arabic music began to grow louder and louder, I heard a rhythm of clapping from the table behind me. When I turned around, I saw a party of Jordanian women dancing and singing.  This made me smile because even with all the conflict that is going on right now in other countries in the Middle East, families and friends can still come together and enjoy.

Jeffrey Sun ’17: I came to Jordan expecting that the locals would be perturbed by unemployment issues, the massive influx of refugees, and the emerging threat of the Islamic State, making the presence of foreigners seem unwelcome and frustrating. However, today’s tour around Amman and Madaba proved me wrong. Despite the pressing issues, the Jordanians I met seemed exceedingly enthusiastic and curious towards foreign visitors.

Jeffrey Sun '17 tries out the wares in a market in Jerash. Photo Credit: David MillerIn Jerash, we strolled around a small marketplace that sold all kinds of delicate souvenirs, and a brown headwear caught my eye. As I walked to the stand, a young boy ran over and offered to teach me the correct way to bind it. He spoke confidently in English, and the way he kept saying “my friend, my friend” somehow delighted me. He wrapped the cloth firmly around my head, gave me a big smile, and said, “Oh, my friend, you look very good!” I will always remember that young salesman who did his job with gusto whenever I wear that scarf.

At dinner, we had live music, and I soon found myself dancing with a group of ladies in their 50s and 60s (due to a combination of peer pressure and jet lag). I had a great time, but also realized that these passionate women genuinely welcomed a boy who did not speak their language and was from a very different cultural background.

Jordan is truly a special country. Surrounded by intense conflict and also troubled by internal issues, Jordanians still managed to remain cheerful and welcoming. I see hope and passion in the people I’ve met today, and I am motivated by their genuine enthusiasm in times of hardship.

View from Citadel Amman 10 6 14 Miller

 

 

Jerash and Amman: Jordan 2

After a late night arrival to Jordan, the Round Square delegates and trip leaders spent an exciting day exploring the cities of Jerash and Amman.

The delegates  in the Amman Airport -- still smiling after nearly 24 hours of travel!

The delegates in the Amman Airport — still smiling after nearly 24 hours of travel!

 

Mr. Finan and the delegates in Jerash  Photo Credit: David Miller

Mr. Finan and the delegates in Jerash
Photo Credit: David Miller

 

The Arch of Hadrian in ancient Jerash Photo Credit: David Miller

Quentin Jeyaretnam ’16 and Jeffrey Sun ’17 at the Arch of Hadrian in ancient Jerash
Photo Credit: David Miller

 

Serena Ainslie '16 dances in the Oval Forum of Jerash Photo Credit: David Miller

Serena Ainslie ’16 dances in the Oval Forum of Jerash.
Photo Credit: David Miller

 

Jeffrey Sun '17 tries out the wares in a market in Jerash. Photo Credit: David Miller

Jeffrey Sun ’17 tries out the wares in a market in Jerash.
Photo Credit: David Miller

 

The group enjoys lunch at a Lebanese restaurant in Jerash. Photo Credit: David Miller

The group enjoys lunch at a Lebanese restaurant in Jerash.
Photo Credit: David Miller

 

Hannah Casey '15 and Quentin Jeyaretnam '16 admire the interior of the Citadel in Amman  Photo Credit: David Miller

Hannah Casey ’15 and Quentin Jeyaretnam ’16 admire the interior of the Citadel in Amman
Photo Credit: David Miller

 

Arianne Evans '16 and Ally Edwards '17 at the Citadel in Amman Photo Credit: David Miller

Arianne Evans ’16 and Ally Edwards ’17 at the Citadel in Amman
Photo Credit: David Miller

Citadel Entire Group 10 6 14 Miller

The Delegates Depart: Jordan 1

Last night, Deerfield’s six student delegates to the Round Square International Conference departed for Jordan! Along with faculty Keith Finan, David Miller and Anna Steim, Serena Ainslie ’16, Hannah Casey ’15, Ally Edwards ’17, Arianne Evans ’16, Quentin Jeyaretnam ’16, and Jeffrey Sun ’17 will spend the next nine days in Jordan, where they will meet with delegates from around the world to focus on the theme of peace.

Watch this space for more photos and reflections from the trip!

 

Delegates and Steim at Logan 10 4 14 Miller

Ms. Steim and the delegates are all smiles before their departure from Boston.
Photo Credit: David Miller

 

Welcome to London 10 5 14 Miller

Welcome to London! The delegates explore Heathrow on their layover to Amman.
Photo Credit: David Miller

 

Mr. Finan and the delegates make the most of their layover!

Mr. Finan and the delegates prove that even airport terminals can be fun.
Photo Credit: David Miller

 

Passports Round Square 10 4 14 Miller

Photo Credit: David Miller