Jordan #3: Culture & Community

Ocean Feng ’24 and Lauren Sobczak ’24, recount a day full of  Jordanian “culture, community, and generosity.”

We started the morning with a heavy breakfast that involved dish after dish of falafel dipped in hummus. We also shared tea together as our tour guide Rasha introduced herself and the plan for the day. When walking in downtown, the smell of spices and perfume filled the air as shop owners kindly invited us into their booths. The sweet aroma of Turkish Coffee and Oriental perfume energized us for the sunny day of exploring the culture and community of downtown Amman. Brief interactions with store owners, local teenagers, and residents allowed us to learn and practice our Arabic. At the amphitheater we met a local teenager by the name of Cesar, who joined us on our climb to the top, and even challenged the boys in arm wrestling contests (he won most of them.) The people we met welcomed our efforts to speak their language and embrace their culture. Learning a lot from our tour guide Rasha; we toured the ancient ruins, museums, and local shops. We gained a lot of knowledge about traditions and the past life in Jordan. We took a refreshing pit stop at the Wild Jordan smoothie café and enjoyed date smoothies, wild smoothies and fresh smoothies.

Sitting on an overlook of the old city allowed our group to recharge, and reflect on the life changing experiences, interactions, and sites. Our time at Wild Jordan allowed us the opportunity to walk around to different shops and purchase authentic items made here in Jordan, many students got matching traditional Jordanian scarfs. For dinner we shared mansaf, stuffed zucchini, grape leaves, tabbouleh, and a wide spread of desserts at the Samawi residence. The home cooked food, sunset, and turban tying tutorial was the perfect way to wind down the evening. Most students ventured outside of their comfort zone and ate luxurious parts of the sheep, such as the brain, eyes, and tongue. As we made our way back to Kings Academy, the group sat in the red Adirondack chairs (just like the green ones at Deerfield) and documented our first journal entry. Our first day in Amman allowed us to experience the culture, community, and generosity of Jordan.