Wednesday, July 23, 2008

July 19, 2008 Osama Community Center


Iraqi, Palestinian, Jordanian women learning English at the Osama Community Center in Amman, Jordan.


Iraqi children playing at the Osama Community Center in Amman, Jordan

Today I went to the Osama Community Center (OCC) in the Al Muhata'ah refugee camp near the Ragadan bus station in Amman. Here I met volunteers from Taiwan, England and Germany teaching English to Iraqis, Palestinians and Jordanians. The Osama Community Center is sponsored by World Vision and is run by a British woman married to an Iraqi priest and Mr. Osama, the sheriff as he refers to himself with a great huge smile, leasing the building.

It’s now the summer session with limited classes: Monday to Thursday 9-12pm childrens’ classes, Sunday and Thursday night 6-8pm adults classes. In the adult classes I saw only women, it was explained that in the summer the men are too tired to come to class after working menial jobs in 39 degrees heat! I can’t say as I blame them! I found that all rooms were full of motivated students using their time to learn as much English as possible so they will be ready for life in America, Canada, or Australia. I offered my services but unfortunately there were no new classes and summer school finishes at the end of July, so instead I helped out by buying a new white board and markers.

What I liked best about the Osama Community Center is that it offers classes to all nationalities favoring no particular ethic group, gender, age, or religion. Christian, Muslim, Iraqi, Palestinian, Jordanian are all able to study for free. Drawing from my previous experience in the Middle East I find this absolutely necessary because giving preferences could lead to problems within the camp and draw negative attention from the Jordanian government. Most of the teachers and administration are Christian and affiliated with the Al Nami Church which is located nearby. The Al Nami Church is run by Iraqi Christians, mostly Assyrian and Chaldean. LINK Mr Osama invited me to attend the Sunday service and I have decided to attend.

1 comment:

lynn miles said...

"I find this [putting the different nationalities together] absolutely necessary because giving preferences could lead to problems within the camp and draw negative attention from the Jordanian government." And it nurtures an environment of being able to affirm one's own culture & nationality as well as those of others. A positive step towards peace, no? From a reading of most of your stories posted to date, I appreciate that there are a lot of positive people doing positive things in an extremely challenging situation, so am glad to see the positive.