Week two of the NJP based in Irbid, Jordan, found our students exploring dusty caves, wandering through the ancient ruins of Jerash and the Amman Citadel, and enjoying simple pleasures such as stopping for strong Arabic coffee along the roadside.
The students have shared a variety of experiences this week. Some were invited into the homes of local residents for sumptuous meals. Plates were piled high with meat and rice as a healthy dose of sweet-sour-ish yogurt was liberally poured over the mountain of food. Our students bravely submitted to being dutiful guests and ate as much as they possibly could! Others sampled local cuisine at restaurants and roadside felafel stands. One popular felafel stand is located directly across the street from the university housing. On any given day, after a long, hot morning surveying fields, hiking through rock quarries, and crawling on stomachs through rock-cut tomb filled caves, you can find a small knot of students gathered around the stand munching felafel wraps stuffed with piping hot fresh falafels and French fries. A cold Fanta or Pepsi is required to wash down this satisfying lunch.
As the students wrap up the second week and look to the third and last week of the program here in Irbid, they all look forward to interacting more with the locals and getting as much field experience as they can. There will be a lot to do this upcoming week and the students have their days fully packed and planned with activities. Their thoughts may start to turn to returning home but are mixed with the desire to soak up as much of the lifestyle and culture here in Jordan as they can.
Kunti D. Bentley.