Welcome To Jordan

Day One in Jordan – Jaz’s diary – experiencing the refugee camps of the Middle East…

Yesterday morning we arrived from London – Beirut (Lebanon), then Beirut to Amman (Jordan) after flying all night. We had the day to prepare for this week in the camps, set up some interviews and get a feel of the city. It is beautiful…

I was instantly overwhelmed by the richness of culture and history. A Roman citadel and amphitheatre, street art, roof top terraces, music, shisha, humous with humous with more humous and the word ‘welcome’ spoken to us from the lips of countless people we passed throughout the day.

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I felt instantly happy and calm as we walked, shooting some views of the city for our documentary.

Our documentary is about the people, the individuals affected by the current refugee crisis. The population of this city has apparently gone up by a million (someone told me that yesterday so not sure of the facts), and I understand there are over 4 million refugees currently living in Jordan, but daily life goes by beautifully…

As the sun went down we noticed a man whistling to a flock of birds soaring through the cloudless sky from his rooftop balcony. They flew down and around him, joining him on the roof of his home. We looked on in awe and he signalled for us to come up… We climbed up a dark staircase and back out into the sun to find him surrounded by birdcages. He showed us new born babies and let us hold a couple of his 100 birds! He told us about them with love, and explained that they were free, if they wanted to, to fly away, to go where they wished, but that they always came back to him.

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His brothers poured us sweet tea and we sat with them on the balcony as I felt overwhelmed by the demonstration of warmth and openness we had been shown in just one day in the Middle East.

It’s easy to dismiss what is far away, ‘different’ from us, unknown. It’s easy to develop fear and prejudice based on what we read, the experiences of others; it’s normal, we all do it. But I’m constantly reminded, daily, by everyone I’m meeting, from all walks of life and from all over the world, that people are good, people feel love, that we all want the same things from life…simple, basic things…

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