Since my last blog post, I have been keeping busy all day at the office and there always seems to be some event or activity after work. I have not had much downtime since I moved into my new apartment, located in the neighborhood called Jebel el Weibdeh.
I have observed five Non-Formal (NFE) and three Informal (IFE) education centers, and am conducting informal interviews with facilitators, Questscope staff, and students. Most students in the NFE program are Jordanian: the program follows a set curriculum and students eventually take an exam that, if passed, will give them 10th grade equivalency. The vast majority of students enrolled in the IFE program, however, are Syrians. The IFE sessions don’t follow a set curriculum, and don’t offer any type of accreditation. Its value lies in its ability to provide children with the opportunity to get out of house (girls especially are often confined to the home), make friends, engage in structured activities, and regain some sense of normalcy with a schedule and routine.
I’ve been able to see a lot of East Amman and cities in the north through these visits, including Mafraq, Irbid, and Ramtha. (The IFE site in Ramtha was just a mile or two from the Syrian border). This Thursday, if all goes smoothly, I will be observing an IFE session and speaking with young adults and children involved in Questscope’s mentoring program in the Za’atari refugee camp, situated just outside of Mafraq.
Outside of work, I’ve been meeting up with friends:
Going to festivals and concerts:
Exploring the outdoors:
And doing a little solo tourism:
Tomorrow begins Ramadan here in Jordan. I’ve been convinced by my co-workers to give fasting a try, at least for a few days, so I’m giving it a shot, for solidarity’s sake.