A couple weekends ago I went with a small group of people, 4 foreigners and 3 native speakers, a Saudi, a Jordanian and a Palestinian, to a neighborhood that is one of East Ammans’ old Palestinian refugee camps. We went to a small two-story community center (just empty rooms that serve many purposes) which kids between the age of 5-13 show up a couple times a week to learn English. Kids began showing up and yelling and playing and running around, staring at the foreigners, it was exactly the same as everywhere else I had been. The kids were great and blew me away with the amount of English they knew, basically everyone in this country speaks a little English, but for 6 year olds to know as much as they did was impressive. There was even the little trouble maker, Osama, who didn’t want to stay seated but if you asked him any word in English he knew how to say it. We were there for a couple of hours and although I feel it was more helpful for my Arabic than their English, it was definitely worth the experience.
After we walked around the neighborhood, through the souk (market) checking everything out. Its funny to think that we were in one of the, lets say ‘least nice’ parts of the city, yet it is still safe enough to wander around even with cameras out. This safety of this city has surprised me so much, considering its history and the region, it is the safest place I’ve ever felt. One thing that was funny to see was as we walked through the cramped streets, packed with sellers and their vegetables, shirts and whatever, with people and trash filling every little part, we came around the corner to see a bridal shop with 6 fully dressed mannequins in the street, it was quite a contrast to the image that the rest of the picture would have on people, it’s a testament to how we make assumptions and really what we don’t understand a lot of the time. People are people, and they always will be.