"there is no sahil."

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


...that Jordan is the third most water-starved nation in the world, according to my friend Greg quoting some UNDP index. Yes, while the average national consumption of water for the rest of the world hovers around 7,700 cubic meters a year, here in Jordan it is 200. If you look at a map and also considert the climate and topography, it makes sense. The shortage is blatantly clear in every aspect of life here. This means only bottled water or expensive and limited filtered tap water to drink. For many families, including my own, water comes once a week. I'm not sure of the actual process, but somehow from Wednesday night until Friday morning, our tanks are filled and we can shower freely and do all the loads of laundry we want. For the rest of the week, water is precious and I think for most people here, bathing daily is just not something that is done. Having a pretty big head of hair and American hygiene habits (10-20 minute showers daily, deep conditioning, etc.) I was a little worried at first when my family explained to me the water deal and looked at me a little strange when I wanted to shower a couple of days in a row. In America I like to conserve and recycle and be earthy as much as any college kid, but nothing makes you appreciate those efforts until you realize what it is like to have a shortage of an essential resource, permanently. It puts those "crazy gas prices" that we worry about at home into perspective.

Here's a photo of Nardeen and Tamra following a play-dough extravaganza.

Today I ventured out with Yasmeen and Ed to the MECCA MALL. This mall is gargantuan and immaculate. Five floors, and still finishing a lot of construction. I actually ate my first Cinnabon. Seeing women in abaya at the mall thoroughly confuses me. I understand that they are probably there shopping for their families or maybe for themselves to keep up their appearance for their husbands, but it still seems weird to me.

I think that everyone should know that Thomas Hamill made my day by sending me a huge email in response to the tiny one I sent to him yesterday. I have a feeling that this could be the beginning of a beautiful written correspondence. He is quite eloquent and hilarious.

Also on the subject of home and emails, I have been getting emails from Smith hockey, and I am going to miss those crazy kids and being on the ice more than i can SAY! I hope that the elders will lead a great fall season and I plan on checking in regularly.

This weekend we will have our first trip OUTSIDE OF AMMAN! I, for one, cannot wait. We'll be going up north to see Jerash, Bethany and Umm Qais. Talk about BIBLICAL history! Should be a pretty fun time. Our director even made us a packing list. I hope that none of us will forget shoes, sunscreen or spending money.

Our first "evening out" was had last Thursday, at Jamila and Laila's apartment. Pasta, cheesecake (with oreo crust), and nargileh were served. They happen to have the top floor apartment along with patio and rooftop access, and it just so happened that there was a partial lunar eclipse that night!


Blogger Ashley said...

Caitlin!! Your mom told me about your blog, so I thought I'd check up on you =-) I am SO sad that I didn't get to say goodbye.. and that I'll never be at Smith with you again. Seriously... sadness. I hope you're having an amazing time. What an experience this all will be. Wow. I can't wait to read more.



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