Nervous and exhausted, I was welcomed with open arms by my host mother, Um Muhammad, at the door of her beautiful home. Anxious about sleeping in a new bed, new home, and in a country foreign to me, it suddenly hit me that I was actually there—in Amman, about to start my summer…
Unfortunately, following an amazing trip to the sites at Petra and Wadi Rum, I became very ill. However sick and crummy I felt in those days, in a weird way I am grateful for the experience, as it allowed me to be completely vulnerable to my surroundings.
I remember one particularly powerful night. I was really sick and I slept on a floor mat so that my host mother could keep an eye on me through the night. I awoke to the feeling of water on my head. My host mother was praying over water and blessing me as a way to aid my healing. In that moment, I had no doubt that this woman cared for me as if I were her own daughter, regardless of race, religion, or politics.
This originally appeared in the 2014-2015 Dean Rusk Annual Report and was authored by Meron Fessehaye ’16 about her experience in Jordan.