Watkinson's Trip to Jordan
During my Junior year of high school, Watkinson sent me and ten other students on an experiential/cultural trip to Jordan. I was first interested in going on this trip during my sophomore year and I was excited to have the opportunity to go on this trip. Since I was adopted from Ethiopia, in 2006, I only left the country one other time. That trip took place during the summer before my eighth-grade year and I traveled to Costa Rica. This was more of an adventure trip to Costa Rica and what really resonated with me during that trip was not the ziplining but the people and culture we experienced. My hope going into this trip to Jordan was to be immersed into the culture of Jordan and the Middle East. What I really enjoyed about this trip to Jordan was that we were able to visit some of the touristy sites of Jordan, like Petra, but also focus on the humanitarian issues that are happening in Jordan.
Amman is the capital of Jordan and is where the trip first started. As pictured to the right, Amman is a city that is very different from an American city. Most notably the architecture is very unique and the city is huge and sprawling with these concrete buildings. It does also have more typical skyscrapers as well but most of the city is made comprised of these concrete buildings. While we were in Amman we visited a couple of refugee activist groups as well as an LGBTQ activist group. During the day we also took Arabic lessons and went site seeing. We visited the Roman Theatre, Amman Citadel, the Royal Automobile Museum, The University of Jordan, and much more. We also tried a variety of foods from traditional Jordanian dishes, to Yemeni food, and even tried cow brain and tongue.
Since Petra is one of the new seven wonders of the world, it would not be a trip to Jordan without visiting this archeological site. This carved city is a sight to see and is incredibly detailed. It is incredible to think that people all the way back in the first century were able to accomplish a feat like this. The trail was hard and took several hours to complete. In order to get to the monastery, we walked up along an ancient staircase with 850 steps. Although tiring it was very rewarding to make it to the top and see the monastery. Along the path towards the monastery, there are locals all over the place. They set up their various tents filled with different souvenirs. It's amazing to think that these people make this trek every day especially given the age of some of these merchants. You can see them effortlessly navigate their donkeys up the steep hills and set up shop.
Wadi Rum is one of the most famous and scenic deserts in the world. Wadi Rum is the site of movies such as Lawrence of Arabia, The Martian, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, and many others. During our time at Wadi Rum, we visited ancient runes, explored unique geographic landmarks, and went snowboarding down a sandhill. We also spent time with the Bedouins who guided us through Wadi Rum and talked to them about the impact that technology has had on their nomadic culture. They explained that now they are not as nomadic as they used to be and most of their income comes from tourism. Technology has made it unnecessary for them to move around as much. The younger generations' movement towards college and traditional jobs has endangered the continuation of Bedouin culture.