Friday, November 30, 2007

From near the Dead Sea in Jordan

Hi, all -

I'm on the road again to conduct the 4th and last of Save the Children's regional workshops for their emergency responders, this one for the Middle East/Eurasia Region.

My trip to Amman, Jordan was uneventful, which means it was good and I didn’t lose my luggage. It was crazy flying from Albany to Chicago, only to turn around and fly over New York on the direct flight from Chicago to Amman, but total travel time was reasonable. The direct flight was 12 hours long, but passed quickly, as I slept a straight 7 or 8 hours.

As we were descending into Amman at dusk, I enjoyed the view: first the Mediterranean shore, then the plains and hills of Israel and the West Bank, then the Dead Sea and desert, and finally the lights of Amman’s international airport. I can’t yet tell how Jordan has changed since I was last here in the mid-1990s because we drove through the dark to this Holiday Inn in Amman where I’m spending the first night. My only observation is that not surprisingly, Amman is bigger, more developed with more large hotels like this one, and the cell phone companies are advertising in a huge way, just like in other recently visited countries (Uganda, Thailand, Honduras, and Guatemala).

At the hotel, fellow trainers Deb and Sonia found me right away and we had some amicable conversation before and over dinner. Sonia and I are relieved that Christophe, the logistician trainer, is coming after all. Neither of us could credibly conduct his training sessions, but we would have had to. We’re missing Annie, as she is serving right now as Team Leader for Save the Children’s response to the Bangladesh cyclone, but it’s much easier for us to cover her sessions on management topics and they surely need her to direct that major operation. Tomorrow at 10 a.m. we depart for Ma’en and begin organizing ourselves and the space we’ll use for the training workshop. Since this is the 4th workshop and our hotel facilities are likely to be quite good, I expect the preparation will go smoothly.

The Internet connection is pretty good, so I hope to post more messages while I'm here these six days.

I do appreciate our community's loving support of my calling to travel to far parts of the world to do what I can. With the increasing number of natural and human-made disasters with which we are faced, it seems more and more urgent to build people's capacity around the world to respond to them.