(Since I'm behind on posting, I'm doing two simultaneous posts. So, check out the other one above/below this one.)
I have been able to make some progress on my project and have gotten some organizations to talk to me about the work they are doing in microfinance. This was all done by leveraging connections I didn't even know I had and asking favors from people I didn't know would grant them.
I've been on quite a few adventures lately from repelling down waterfalls to visiting one of the wonders of the world (pictures below). From my blog posts one might think that all I am doing on this trip is having wild adventures in far off lands. And although that's mildly true, I just want to give you a realistic idea on what my daily life is like. Every (almost) week day (Sunday-Thursday), I wake up and I try to make progress on my Watson project. I spend the days contacting (or trying to contact, because people in Jordan don't always answer their phone or respond to emails) organizations involved in microfinance. It's only on the weekends when I go out to see all the beautiful places in Jordan; it's only on the weekends when do fun things with the friends I've made in this country. I don't post much about my project because I'm still processing a lot of what I'm learning here in Jordan. It's a lot easier for me to tell you the funny stories and cool things that I see, instead of digging into topics that I haven't quite formed an opinion on.
I won't pretend that I've accomplished as much as I hoped here in Jordan, but I do think I learned a lot about how to approach a challenging and open-ended project. Very soon I will post a short post summarizing some of the things I've learned about microfinance in Jordan for those that are interested. This will include information about the economic and cultural climate, details on the current microfinance sector, and my unsolicited opinion about microfinance in Jordan. I hope to use that post as a summary of my time in Jordan because this coming Thursday, I am leaving for a new adventure in New Delhi, India! Before I leave though, I'll be going to Wadi Rum (the desert) and Aqaba (a beach town in the south of Jordan). Look out for a post with pictures of those wicked excursions.
The 3 illegal dams were less beautiful. One of them is pictured above. People create these dams so they don't have to pay for water for their crops. However, it creates tons of algae in the streams. Plus, there are these giant black tubes that transport the water to the farms which destroy the natural landscape. It would be really easy to regulate these illegal dams, but it doesn't seem like the government really cares...
The Dust Storm
There was a huge dust storm throughout the Middle East the week after I went to the wadi. I'd never seen weather this bad, and, remember, I lived in LA for four years.
I went to Petra, one of the wonders of the world, for two days. Petra is an old city established by the Nabataeans in 312BC. It's known for it's amazing architecture, which is carved into cliff sides. To say its fabulous is a huge understatement.