Guest Post by Engaging Cultures Travel Jordan Guest –
Since I started traveling 4 years ago I haven’t looked back. Traveling has become a passion of mine; recently I had the opportunity to travel to Jordan with classmates from George Fox University through Engaging Cultures Travel. Modern technology allows us to be anywhere we want in less than two days: the rainforests of Brazil, the Sahara Desert, The Alps, or Australia etc, the possibilities are endless. Personally, I am thankful for traveling abroad and visiting different cultures because it is such a unique experience. Eyes become open and stereotypes are shattered when we no longer hide behind the façade of our comfortable lives. The veil that the media portrays was completely torn when I visited the Middle East. The more time you are able to spend with Jordanians or Bedouins or Syrians the more you realize they have the same needs and wants, longing for answers and someone who will show them compassion. Through traveling I have found that there is more to life that matters than ourselves.
Being a college student, I recently took a class called Liberal Arts and Critical Issues, LACI for short. The purpose of this class was to work together with students from different majors and solve a problem in the world. The problem could be anything from sex trafficking, to garbage in Thailand, to corrupt education systems, or even the aids epidemic. My group decided we wanted to focus on the marginalized, specifically something we could relate to that is a hot topic and a plausible solution. After a lot of thinking, my friend David and I, who also traveled to the Middle East with me, thought it would be great if we looked into the Syrian refugee crisis.
The biggest complication with the Syrian refugee crises is that we read about it in the papers and see it on the news, yet we can’t make any personal connections. So what are some ways we can make the situation personal? How can we put a face on the situation? After researching refugee camps, the Syrian Civil War we became up to date on the current situation of refugees in Jordan. Thanks to Engaging Cultures guides Jon Killpack and Daniel Robards we were able to contact an international NGO working with Syrian refugees in Jordan. With their help we were able to get a complete picture of the Syrian refugee crises in Jordan and they are doing to help the refugees.
Our proposed solution to the problem: We are planning a serve trip of George Fox Students to go to Jordan and build relationships with the marginalized, and refugees. This trip will consist of film, journalism, and art majors etc. who will document the situation and use mediums to put a face to the situation and establish what will hopefully be a small step in a continuing relationship with the Syrian refugees. While this solution may not last it is a start and a small way that we can get involved and physically make a difference by simply showing the refugees that someone cares about them. – Garet Simpson