The assorted catch-up post: Facebook, UNESCO, and Eid al Adha

I’m back to regularly posting on my blog, especially now that I have disabled my Facebook profile for good. I’ve checked Facebook every day for nine years since I created an account as a college freshman at the University of Washington, and it is really time that this habit dies.

(But I am possibly replacing one internet addiction with another: follow me on Twitter at @mcadams_l!)

Since my last post, I have been continuing work with the UNESCO Amman office. I am very lucky that my boss, Claude, has been giving me progressively more responsibility, and this past month I have organized an official donation ceremony, drafted up a contract, processed more than my fair share of payment requests, waded through current project budgets, and what I’m most proud of: writing up a concept note and then a project proposal for a scholarship program for Syrian refugee and vulnerable Jordanian undergraduate students. Whether or not the project will actually be approved and go through is quite uncertain at this point; however, it was an excellent learning experience and a lot of fun to be creative and design my own program. I even got to meet with the Jordanian Minister of Higher Education in the process. I’ve been collecting information from 5 or 6 prospective Syrian scholarship recipients every day at the front door (it has all been due to word-of-mouth) so  I hope I can soon post good news announcing that the project will move forward.

The internship at UNESCO also allows for a lot of flexibility in my work: just this week I tagged along with project managers from Questscope to observe more Non-formal education centers, this time in Ghor al Safi, a town in the Jordan Valley, Umm Sayhoun, a village neighboring Petra, and around Amman. Each center is quite unique, with their own strengths and areas for improvement, which I’ve been able to understand somewhat more after speaking with facilitators, students, and administrators.

I’ve also been designing hands-on science days for Syrian refugee kids in Amman with my friend Hamza’s organization, the Scientific Cultural Society. Every Saturday morning we host 25 – 30 kids and have fun with science.

Kids are challenged to build "earthquake"-proof marshmallow towers.

At this station, kids are challenged to build “earthquake”-proof marshmallow towers.

Next week is the Islamic holiday of sacrifice, the Eid al Kebir, or Eid al Adha. I really enjoyed celebrating this holiday in Morocco in 2010. You can read about how the Eid is celebrated there from two past blog posts. (We sacrificed a calf!) I asked Hamza how his family planned to celebrate Eid: were they going to buy a sheep and, as the oldest male in the household, was he going to be the one responsible for actually doing the sacrifice? He laughed in my face: his family will buy meat from the butcher, he’ll receive envelopes of cash from his grandparents, and he’ll visit family. Hamza’s family may not be sacrificing an animal themselves, but there are pens of sheep all throughout the outskirts of the city waiting to be taken home, so somebody in this city is doing some sacrificing.

This year I’ll get to celebrate with my sister. She gets some time off molding minds in Kuwait and will be coming to Amman for a week, so I’ll show her around the city, we’ll float in the Dead Sea, and perhaps road trip it down to Petra. I can’t wait to have her here.


About Laura McAdams

Laura McAdams is a Master’s student at University of Pennsylvania studying International Educational Development. Her experience in the MENA region includes 15 months as a Fulbright student researcher to Fez and Ifrane, Morocco in 2010 and 2011. Her project was interested in understanding the disconnect between the policies of technology usage in education and the reality of how these policies unfold in the classroom. Summer 2012 she returned to the Middle Atlas mountains of Morocco to work with a women’s weaving cooperative. She is excited to learn more about other countries in the MENA region and issues involving education policy and reform, technology usage in curriculums and gender equality in education. One of Laura’s lifelong goals is to one day be able to sit down and leisurely read a newspaper in Arabic.
This entry was posted in Boren Fellowship in Jordan, 2013-2014 and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The assorted catch-up post: Facebook, UNESCO, and Eid al Adha

  1. Cindy Le says:

    It’s awesome that you are taking on more responsibilities with UNESCO.

    I really like the science days you all do. How do you think of the activities? From things you all did as kids, science books, imagination?

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