Project archive for Zarqa

Al-Alouk Summer Camp

Award Amount: $119.00
Volunteer(s): A. Lehto
Locations(s): Al-Alouk
Dates(s): June 2006
Participants: 40 boys

The major event of the summer in the village of Al-Alouk was the Al-Alouk Summer Camp for boys. I had my students design and run a summer camp for themselves with me acting as facilitator. They asked to learn Judo (which they are convinced every American knows very well), new games, more English– but in a fun way, paint the school, and teach me dubca (their traditional dance). I said yes to all of these suggestions. We held the camp three days a week to conserve the limited funds for t-shirts, food, and paint. It was hard to involve the other teachers since they all have second jobs to supplement their low teacher salaries. I bought 40 plain white t-shirts and different colored magic markers and we made t-shirts the first and second days of the camp. The kids made exceptional shirts but also gave themselves temporary magic-marker tattoos which quickly made me the enemy (for a few days) of many mothers in the village.

There were two surprising outcomes. First, the kids who attended regularly were generally students most of the other teachers didn’t like. These were low achieving students that were often kicked out of school. However, when given some responsibility, they took it, behaved, and help keep others in line too. One example is Ahmed, who, during the year was kicked out of class daily, but helped plan many aspects of the camp and even served as a luitenant. The second surprise was the makeup of the kids that attended. The village has three clans from the Benni Hassan tribe (the largest tribe in Jordan). In the village, the clans are rigidly separated and rarely interact.

They even have separate stores, butchers, and buses. Since I held the camp on the grounds of the school which is in the Amoosh clan area, only Amoosh kids showed up with the exception of two or three sporadic Shdefat kids who mustered the courage to walk to camp with me from the Shdefat part of town where I live. However, when the Shdefat and Amoosh kids hung together, there was a little tension in the air which i later figured out was due to the fact that such an occurrence rarely happened. Next year I’m going to try harder to integrate the kids.With the camp, I also started tutoring kids full time. This is more rewarding since i don’t have to deal with the restrictions that the ministry of education places on teachers. My favorite kid are Hamza and Malak who come from a very, very poor family. Who knows, maybe they’ll go to university someday if they can demonstrate their ability in English and win a Kings scholarship.

The Kings' HighwayThe Roman Amphitheater, Amman
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