America's Unofficial Ambassadors

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.

Discovering Salt: Jordan Day 5

The 2012 Building Peace by Building Homes participants recently returned from their trip to Jordan. Catch up with their experiences by reading more of their entries written AUA’s trip leader Gideon Culman.  To find an amazing volunteer opportunity, search the AUA Directory of Recommended Organizations© today.

The Building Peace by Building Homes team heads to the building site at daybreak and the work is the same as it has been all week: Hauling bricks, mixing cement, mixing cement, hauling bricks. But today there’s something different. As the walls grow higher, we leave spaces for windows, and the fruit of our labor finally resembles a house! The wind is blowing hard and we wrestle to secure the tarp protecting us from the unrelenting sun.

Photo Courtesy of AUA Volunteer Marcela Garcia.

In the evening we meet with board members of the Salt Youth Club and learn about the organization’s historical importance to the area. Afterwards we explore the streets of downtown Salt. A major hub during the Ottoman Empire, Salt boasts colorful bazaars, hillsides brimming with old stone houses, and a sampling of historical palaces, mosques and churches. We buy souvenir scarves and chew frankincense resin as the sun sets over the scenic cityscape. After the evening prayer is done, the faithful spilling out of the mosques and into the streets offer sweets to the members of the Building Peace by Building Homes team.

Returning to Allan village, a family whose mother serves on the board of the community center hosting us invites the Building Peace by Building Homes team for a late dinner. We expect a small family meal. When we arrive, everyone is there: Grandparents in flowing robes, children lighting firecrackers, uncles and aunts who have brought all the cousins. The feast is enormous. We learn that the head of the household trained as an Arabic-Russian interpreter in Kyiv. He used to visit the Ukraine every year. “Until this,” he waves his hand at a flock of children running into the house, and beams.

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This entry was posted on June 22, 2012 by in Volunteer Related and tagged , , , .
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