What’s your name?
What’s your name?
Ah, beautiful. Beautiful.
– what’s your name?
Jasmine, Farah, Halah, Raniyah…
There were so many names and so many beautiful, exuberant, outgoing girls on school excursions to Jerash the day I was there. They wanted to take my picture. They wanted me to take theirs. They wanted to know my name and for me to know their’s. Mostly, they just wanted to talk to a woman who was obviously a foreigner, practice their English which they start learning in grade one and have fun!
Children are a reflection of their culture.
The children I met in Jerash were open, friendly, confident, curious and boisterous. They freely came up to me asking me questions, sometimes bouncing up in front of my face to get my attention in a crowd.
And the teachers supervising them were not uptight and concerned about their safety nor were they annoyed by their noise – I’ve seen both in North American teachers as they take responsibility for students here. They took delight in them. They would usher the children away so as not to bother me but they seemed to truly enjoy their time with the children.
So, what did I learn about Jordanian people from these children? That they are friendly, helpful and considerate. I also learned that the issue of strangers doesn’t seem to exist there. After watching these children I felt that Jordan was very safe. Given that I had a guide with me almost all the time I felt it necessary to confirm this belief with independent tourists. And it was confirmed – over and over again.
One teacher told me that the children were thrilled that I was chatting with them – that other tourists had ignored them earlier in the day. What a shame. In a land with Petra, Wadi Rum, the Red Sea and the Dead Sea. In a country with so much to offer, these children were, without doubt, a highlight of my trip.
Regardless of what a country has to offer the traveler, it is the people and their culture that makes the trip either wonderful or simply a checkmark on a list. Jordan was wonderful. It is a place to visit again.
Want more perspectives on Jordan. Check out:
Visiting the Dead Sea: a Sanctuary by Isabelle’s Travel Guides
Diving the Red Sea in Aqaba, Jordan by Wild Junket
I was a guest of Visit Jordan on this trip. They did not influence the experiences or opinions I have chosen to share on Solo Traveler.