Children laughing in Jordan

55 young people from different countries of the world have spent 12 days in Jordan in August this year. They came from Europe, the Middle East, three were from USA, Argentina and New Zealand. They lived in shelters, that up to 6 months ago had been occupied by 100 refugees from Iraque. Experience the refugees argument from different perspectives, go beyond the limits of your own culture and way of living, overcome prejudices and use media to comunicate your own experiences - these were the objectives of the project "Host-Spots" that created the plattform for this exchange. One of the participants tells about his experiences.
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27.09.2016 / 11 Uhr
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"When I packed my bags to fly to Jordan, I did not really know what was awaiting me there. In retrospect, that might have been the best thing to do: Not expecting anything. Not preparing yourself too much in order to not have prejudices about anything: the country, it's people, the work they and we would be doing. So I flew to Jordan, willing to find out some things about the country, the refugee crisis and about myself.

In Jordan, we went to visit refugee families. We went to preschool programmes for refugee children, we painted a wall and a basketball field for and with them. We listened to talks, we learned about the amazing work that Caritas Jordan is doing for the refugees. As time passed, we did not only get to know refugees personally but also did we get to know each other more and more.

An important part of the Host Spot programme was the exchange of young people with different backgrounds for me. Some day as we were walking, I was talking to a guy from the Middle East who was also a participant. He told me that he had had many negative images about Europeans and especially Germans in his head. Just as we have specific perceptions about 'the East' in our minds. But he also told me that this exchange, this getting to know each other, changed many of his prejudices. He told me that he was surprised by our kindness, by our empathy. And I admitted that I had not known much about all the conflicts going on because it did not really effect my daily life.

I am so grateful for the opportunity that I got, so I could learn not only about the situation in the Middle East but also about the people on a very personal level. Media plays such an important role because not everybody gets the chance to go to the Middle East himself. That is why I think we should actively participate in our democracy and help shape the Media, especially the Internet. The online world is full of hate, of people starting shitstorms or cyberbullying. But the Internet is on the other hand a wonderful possibility for us to share ideas and connect.

I have to admit that as the days passed in Jordan I got more and more frustrated. With the situation and myself. Hearing the stories of these people and not being able to do anything really got to me. I was thinking that it is just luck, where on earth you are born. You do not get to choose. All these innocent people suffer so much and it could under different circumstances easily have been me. And while these things happen, I am living my perfectly fine life in Germany and I don't do anything about it. One evening I talked to another participant about this. And he said: "We have to understand that we did not come here to save these people. But we can try and offer them our ears to listen and a warm smile and the promise to help to make a difference. Even if it is just a little one". 

And this is what Host Spot means to me: Accepting that I am not in the position to solve this conflict. Telling people about what I saw, what I learnt and what I felt. Contacting family members of somebody I met there because they are in Germany and need help. Opening my ears and my heart to other people and listen. Make a difference by starting with myself."