Mansef and the Citadel

So here I am in Jordan! Probably I should have posted this awhile ago (I got in last Thursday) but things have been understandably busy since all 38 of us arrived in the country at 2am. We’ve been doing a lot a lot a lot of training this week. At first that just meant filling out forms and getting shots (apart from a delightful visit to the Citadel in Amman- pictures below), but at the beginning of the week we moved to a university in Mafraq, a city about an hour away from Amman, and things have gotten more intense since then. Today I had 2 language lessons (one in the morning and one in the afternoon), plus a session on how to field awkward personal questions from Jordanians and another on the special education system in Jordan. And then we had a culture night, which meant that we got dance the Dubka (instructed by the delightful Al Bayt University dance team), henna our arms like crazy, and then eat a giant meal of Mansef, Jordan’s national dish. Basically it’s a large platter of lamb on top of a lot of rice, almonds, and yogurt that you can only ever eat with your right hand- no forks allowed. It was pretty good, but the fact that I only started eating meat a couple weeks ago and the fact my stomach’s still adjusting to the food made for some interesting digestive experiences later on. But that’s just part of the fun?

mansef hands

Tomorrow morning we’ll find out what villages we’re being placed in for the rest of training…not sure if we’ll find out who are host families are or not. Either way we’re moving in with them on Thursday and I’m VERY excited. I really hope they have kids…I think I’m about on the conversational level of a 2 year old right now, so it’ll be perfect. After we move in with our families the rest of our training is focused on language lessons for 4-6 hours a day in small groups in the villages. They’ll bus us into Mafraq for our specialty trainings 2 days a week, so that’s probably the only internet I’ll be seeing for the next couple months (although most sites are blocked here at the university…gmail (sans gchat) and wordpress seem to be the only exceptions). We also get to start doing site visits in our villages next week, which means I get to hang out at a special education center every afternoon. Training is a lot of language and culture orientation and  it can be really draining…sometimes it’s hard not to get overwhelmed with all the things I don’t know. I end up falling into this weird “trainee” mindset and forgetting the reason I’m here- because I have skills that I can use to help other people. I think getting into a center and seeing what I can do to help will go a long way.

the citadel!


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3 responses to “Mansef and the Citadel

  1. Great pictures! The training is only going to make you better able to help the kids, although I’m sure it must seem like it’s just more school and the most intense kind of school EVER! You will come out of it even more amazing than you already are!

  2. Very Cool Pics Maggie. Kathleen and I are camping at the coast and signed onto your blog for a look see into the exciting life and times of “Maggie Close” The picture of you and your friend overlooking the city is awesome. We are proud of you Mag …keep up the good work.

    UD

  3. Maggie, I was so interested in the views of Amman and The Citadel that I looked up the history of the Citadel on line. It is amazing how ancient it is and still survives! You look great.

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