We work at the grassroots level throughout the Muslim World to counter violent extremism before it takes hold, to promote tolerance and understanding, and to foster better relations with the United States.
The following is a guest post from AUA Mosaic Scholarship recipient Andria Enns. Andria will be volunteering with United Planet in Jordan. To find an amazing opportunity like this one, search the AUA Directory of Recommended Organizations© today!
You could say my journey to Jordan started when I was seven years old, as a Girl Scout Brownie. Each troop in the district represented a different nation at the Southern California international fair, and my troop chose Jordan. After that fair, I knew I wanted to visit Jordan someday.
Flash-forward fourteen years to a small Middle Eastern café in Kansas City, Missouri, where I’m a college student. Fruity Egyptian hookah smoke curled in the air and soft Arabic music played overhead. I thought this café would be the perfect place to tell my friend I was planning a trip to Amman.
You could almost hear the record scratch as she did a double-take.
“But… why?” she said.
It was a question I’ve been getting over and over as I’ve planned my trip over the last six months. People hear “Middle East” or “Muslim world” and think “war,” “terrorism,” and “danger.” It’s easy to think that if you only see war coverage on television.
I’m going because I believe peace starts with us – with me. Not only because I’ll serve as an unofficial ambassador while in Jordan; but also because of the knowledge and compassion I will bring home.
Only once cultural fear is abolished, can we begin to celebrate our diverse traditions as a global community.
It would be a lie to say that I’m not anxious at all – after all, it’s a new culture that I’ve never experienced before. I know the local customs will take getting used to. But even more than that, I’m excited. I can’t wait to meet my Jordanian host family and learn about communal eating with them (I’ve always liked eating with my hands, anyway!). I’m looking forward to becoming part of a workplace community at Friends of the Global Fund (a public health nonprofit) and making a real difference. I’m excited to visit the local hang-outs and make new friends.
I’m sure some days will be hard – some days I’ll be homesick for my mom, my siblings, my boyfriend and my classmates. But I’m sure that even more than that, I’ll be homesick for Jordan when I come back.
Andi Enns is a student in the Degree with Honors Program at Park University, studying journalism and public relations. She will be on a service trip to Amman, Jordan for three weeks over winter break, working with a public health organization and staying with a local family.