"you are welcome." that is how i have been greeted by nearly every person i have met here. that, often followed by invitations for dinners, coffee and helpful advice; and here everyone genuinely means it. i've already learned so much from my communities about hospitality, openness and vulnerability.
my journey here is one about accompaniment. this idea that was reiterated over and over throughout our large group training in chicago. accompaniment is walking along side people with a hope for mutuality and understanding. it is about seeking justice, loving kindness and walking humbly, all of which i'm still learning to do. many people replied to my commitment to global service with comments about changing or saving the world. sorry to disappoint, but that probably won't happen, and really isn't what i'm here to do. for those of you at home, that's your job. opportunities for service exist in every community, workplace, home and friendship. a lot of power and understanding is born through being in a setting that is familiar. that is where you are best equipped to notice and understand the needs of the people around you.serving others doesn't just mean packing up your life and moving to the other side of the world. at this point in my life, it is what is right for me. but it looks different for everyone. the best way i can be supported this year is with patience, with me and with yourself as we both try to love others better. for all we know, it's you who will be the world changer.
along with living along side my community and host family, my specific call in this context is to assist in english classes in schools two days a week and work at the environmental education center the other two days. i just finished my first "real" week and still have a lot to figure out about my place in these contexts.
i have already learned so much about service through my community here.
here are a few example of people who have served me this week:
maram, the young woman who drives me to work everyday
the woman standing on a street corner who reassured me i was in the right place for work
micheal, the man who oh so patiently teaches me arabic
the friends who cooked dinner with me
the cars that don't run me over each morning as i walk across the traffic circle
abeer, my host mom who asks me about my day, has the sweetest smile, and always sends me home with food
friends who send me music recommendations
most host family, who lets me be in their presence even when i don't have the language or words to say much
the man who invited me into his restaurant to see debka and eat wonderful salads
the debka dancers who performed for us and sympathetically tried to teach me some steps
my pastor, who gave us the warmest welcome into our congregation
the man at work who gave me extra cookies when i forgot my lunch
emily, the sweet old woman who reminded me over and over that i am welcome
most host dad, who fixed the appliances in my house after i realized showering with a single stream of water was not doing the trick
the teachers at my school, who welcomed me with excitement and laughter
people at home who have commented, liked and interacted with my posts, (i'm a millennial, so i feel the love)
the guy at the produce market who doesn't rip me off for being american
the people who have pushed me to share my feelings about being here and let me clumsily process my thoughts
those who are curious about my journey, (it means the world, truly)
and finally, Basil the lizard that is cohabiting my home, who serves me by being small and not climbing into my bed