Friday, January 23, 2009

Update from Amman!

It’s been a fun, but very busy, three weeks in Amman. I’ve been settling in as best I can…while still living in the hotel. I’ve had a chance to look at a good number of potential places to live and have a short list of about 5-6 places to look at with Paul when he arrives next week. Hopefully only a couple more weeks in the hotel! Leia arrived earlier this week with my friend and colleague Robin. It was a big adventure but she handled it very well and has completely taken over my room now.

We’ve had many visitors here in Amman these past few weeks. Colleagues from HQ and the West Bank/Gaza office were here last week to discuss some upcoming programming opportunities both in Jordan and Palestine. It was a fruitful visit and we even managed to get some sightseeing in down in Madaba, which is known as the Mosaic City.

The Jordan programs are going very well, and last night I even had the opportunity to meet with the US Ambassador to Jordan for about 15 minutes and informed him of our programs and the continuing needs of the Iraqi refugees that are still residing in Jordan. Our programs are still reaching the bulk of the refugees (considered “guests” by the GoJ) but their need for livelihoods and the opportunities to be productive and contributing members of society is rapidly becoming one of their largest needs. We are seeing a reduction in the numbers of refugees this year, which is in some ways a good thing. This reduction is due to some refugees returning to Iraq, some getting resettled in third countries (US and Europe), and some moving on to Syria and Lebanon with the hopes of more affordable living costs and more opportunities.

This past week IRD in partnership with One Laptop per Child hosted a Middle East regional conference in Amman for donors and partners that are interested in, and implementing, the one laptop per child programs. The founder of OLPC, Nicholas Negroponte was also present for the conference and it was very interesting learning more about this program.

Below are some pictures from the past few weeks, touring Madaba, and the OLPC conference. If you want to see them all visit my photo site!

No comments: