My name is Nabil Ahmed, and I’m a sophomore at Loyola studying Neuroscience on the pre-med track. Two summers ago, I traveled to Jordan with an organization called Helping Hand, through the program “Youth for Jordan”. Through this, I got to spend one week in Jordan to help and interact with Syrian refugees and orphans, to hear their stories, and to raise awareness to the situation and the things that they were going through.
We arrived in Jordan on the first day and visited an amusement park, where we met up with the first batch of orphans. They were extremely excited to see us, and they were full of energy and ready to play. We spent the full day there and played with the orphans, and hopefully left a lasting impact on them. On the second day, we visited one of the Syrian refugee camps, where we got to meet some of the families and hear their stories, as well as deliver food packages and supplies to the families. We got to learn about how they got here and the experience of what they went through during their time in Syria.
On the third day, we visited an orphanage where we met some of the kids that have been living there for their whole life. These kids were extremely talented and a lot of them had the Quran memorized, and recited to us. They also had their own talents and tried to talk with us, but none of us really understood the language. We had a few people in the group that spoke Arabic and tried to translate for us, but it wasn’t the same as being able to communicate with them firsthand. The only thing we really understood was “shou Ismuk” which meant “what’s your name”. This is part of the reason I took the Arabic course in college, so that when I hopefully go back one day, I might be able to talk to the kids and hear their stories straight from them, and establish a better connection with them.