Day 1 of Train the Trainer, Amman
Hello. This has been a very long day. I just could not get to sleep, so I got up at 4 am to go set up the training room. It’s a good thing I did, because it took me 2 hours and I needed another shower before I dressed for the training!
The group is, as I’ve always found in Jordan, just lovely. One kink is that instead of 3-4 folks who needed an interpreter, there were 8! Poor Majd had quite a job translating for her table and then reporting out. A number of the guys actually spoke and understood some English, but they were afraid they would miss important information.
When we first began, I needed to use a hand-held microphone. When the participants introduced themselves, their accents plus the fuzzy microphone sound made it very difficult for me to understand them.
At the break, Luma helped me move all of the tables closer to the front and closer to each other so we could dispense with the microphone. That was much better!
We weren’t able to complete Day 1 material, due in part to my need to frequently repeat explanations for the Arabic speaking table. Luckily, there are some men who speak English very clearly and helped by telling me what other highly accented folks said- and explaining in Arabic when my explanations were insufficient.
A good portion of the participants work in the field for Mercy Corps and do not, nor will they, train. I asked Majd why they attended and she explained that Mercy Corps wants everyone on the same page for everything.
When we conducted needs assessments and volunteers reported their findings, one of the questions they had to answer was how long their training programs would be. The answers: 5 days, 6 days…amazing!
Other than some of the women in hijab, the sound of Arabic, and men praying in the corner during breaks, this group is no different than any you might see in the states. Unfortunately, my cartoons don’t translate well. Only a few get laughs- and I have to wait a while for them to read and then react to them. They do like the music I play at breaks. One fellow asked if I had James Brown singing “Only a Woman”- which I don’t. A number of the participants are working on a gender awareness and gender violence project, so he thought he’d yank their chains.
Their training topics are terribly serious: child abuse and violence against women are just two of them.
I have to admit by 4 pm, after 12 hours in the room, I’d had it and ended the session instead of at the scheduled 4:30. Needless to say, the participants were very appreciative!
When I was informed that a wedding was scheduled in the room this evening and everything I had taken 2 hours to set up would have to be removed, I was almost beside myself! However, Majd and Luma worked it out so that the hotel staff would be responsible for putting the kites and my agenda map back up on the walls and placing the participant binders and materials on their original tables. I certainly hope that everything is back in place tomorrow. I almost fell asleep on my bed once I got back to my room, so I know I won’t be showing up at 4 am again tomorrow!!!
After being on my feet for so many hours, I called for room service. The club sandwich sounded great: chicken breast, roast beef, tomato, lettuce and fried egg. The reality was something else. I don’t think I’ve ever had spam before, but that was the “roast beef” in the sandwich. My other meals have been just wonderful, so this was an exception.
Oh, I forgot to mention that my closet safe failed last night and the maintenance guy had to take it apart. It works perfectly now.
Another note: I asked Zaid, who is the person who brought me back to Mercy Corps, if Trump’s actions had affected their US AID funding. He said that they were getting most of their funding from a Great Britain organization- but because of Brexit, their amount of money was significantly reduced. Almost all of my overseas trips have been funded by various US AID projects, so I’m concerned about their longevity under Trump.
Have a good night.