Tag Archives: travel

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Reality finally hits for Aktham and his girlfriend as he prepares to enter the secure area at the Queen Alia Airport in Amman, Jordan September, 5. A refugee from targeted violence in Iraq, Aktham has been living for 13 years, ineligible for regular employment, in Jordan and has finally gained approval to emigrate to the U.S. After 5 years in application he was approved a year and a half ago and was notified last week by the IOM that his time had finally come for travel. Like countless Iraqi refugees he has been living next to his phone, waiting for this fateful call. When it arrived, it rocked his world. He had one week to liquidate 13 years of life. Hopeful for a new life, but smarting under the abruptness of the impersonal system, he left for the U.S. with one suitcase and a backpack. A friend and I had the opportunity to record these last emotional days and in the next weeks or months the story should be forthcoming in a short documentary.

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Alnas fii Amman

One day.  One City.  24 candid pictures of people.  Sometimes I have to use words in place of pictures, but sometimes I get to use pictures in place of words.

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Amman, Jordan

It seemed so altogether appropriate.  As our AirFrance flight banked hard toward landing in Amman, the pink and blue gradieted sky gave way to the pure pale blue of dusk and a perfect crescent moon shown over the pincussion of lights which made up the capital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.  Our pilot dance stepped us down on to the runway of Queen Alia’a airport – a medium sized establishment that rises out of the desert.  There are palm trees.  There are men in robes and turbans and women in full veils.  But for the most, you would hardly know that you aren’t in any other western airport.  It’s the small things, more than the big things that let you know you’re in a new culture.  It’s the fact that when you get to passport control, there are two men – one in smart uniform and the other in civilian clothes.  There’s no explanation of why the one takes you passport while the other mumbles.  But they’re all very kind.  And they stamped all our documents with a stamp that says we’re to report within a month to the nearest police station.  Jordan feels like a friendly, welcoming place.  When a woman accidentally backed her luggage cart into me, she smiled and offered me a kindly “afwan”.  All of us arriving students are a little slap happy after loosing almost a day to the teeth of cross-timezone travel.  While waiting for our CET representative to pick us up we’ve been plotting possibilities of arranging a camel carravan for our trip to Irbid.  But our ride has now found us… Oh well. There goes that plan.

Safe and happy in Jordan.  Many more stories to come.

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