9:30am touchdown in Amman.
Already on the plane I’m getting a taste of the friendliness and hospitality of the Jordanians, helping with my bags and welcoming me to the country. It’s a bit tricky trying to work out the currency and disheartening to see my thousands of rupees exchanging to a mere forty Jordanian Dinar for my visa. Efficiently through immigration, kindly guided to pick up my safely delivered sitar and I’m excited to immediately see a sign with my name on it on entering the arrivals hall. Again a lovely “Welcome to Jordan” from Shady the driver and we are on our way to the apartment. It was surprising for me to see (and please excuse my ignorance here) lush green fields on the boulder dotted hills on the way to Amman and its so ordered and not at all shady but safe-feeling on the roads compared to India.
When I arrived at the apartment, Anton and Omar were on their way out to get some bulk supplies to feed the growing team. A quick hello (for the first time) and Anton grabs my sitar, saying hello to it and giving it a much warmer welcome and carries it up the stairs.
Walking in the door at 11am, the team has just woken up and all are sitting in their pyjamas around the table, passing the Hagel Slag around, sampling Omar’s interesting mix of Tahini and date syrup spread and having a good catch up. Many members had arrived in the early hours of the morning and overnight so after a well-deserved sleep in, it’s a nice late start to the day by the time we get ready to go out.
We set out to downtown Amman where we met Christina, a young, bright and energetic Lithuanian/Syrian lady who is part of a team that set up the Jadal cultural centre. She brought the fifteen of us there and had another team member make us ice tea while we sat in a corner of the sandy colour walled courtyard while she explained their project to us and her visions for the centre and how excited she was that we had come and were wanting to do some work with them. We discussed with her what we thought we could offer at the centre and she seemed very pleased, talking about how she feels strongly that people here needed to gain a greater consciousness of their surroundings and their impact on the people and environment around them. We agreed on a workshop for the 18th that would be followed by a world dance and music concert by us. The conversation was very productive, covering program content, advertising, review of the space and we locked in the date and time and all headed out to Christina’s pick of local food for a delicious filling meaty dinner with fresh pita and delicious dips for Nick.
We’re here, and our work is just about to start!