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Volunteer's testimony in Jordan - " You leave a part of yourself here. "

EN - Tuesday, 03 August 2021

SOS Chrétiens d'Orient sends volunteers throughout the year. Like Benoît, come and live an unforgettable experience in Jordan. Don't ask yourself questions. The only limits are the ones you impose on yourself.

Per day, the mission of a volunteer costs the association 33 €. If you can't leave, sponsor a volunteer, donate.

 


 

 

We left Smakieh, one of the two entirely Christian villages of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, and its inhabitants. Despite the emotion of the moment and after spending three fraternal weeks there, we had to hold back our tears because this is not always well regarded in manners. In the car, I thought about all the people I had met and will never forget. To all these simple, joyful, welcoming, proud, funny people who firmly believe in solidarity and brotherhood among Christians. I who came to give, I think I have received even more. “You leave a part of yourselves here, and you take a part of Smakieh with you,” the priest of this village told us. I remember those words, the discussions, and all the good times we had together.

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Smakieh is a place from where you can watch the desert as far as the eye can see, see a cloudless sky and a sun that you know is scorching, even if you don't feel its blows due to the coolness of the weather. wind. This village of hundreds of poor little houses, which has no running drinking water, has two magnificent churches, Latin and Greek-Melkite. It's also an atmosphere and people, who care more about the comfort of their guests than their precarious situation. Indeed, as and when the invitations to take the meal with our neighbors, to refill, to make ourselves comfortable, we were more and more aware that many young people from the village, although having finished their studies, could not find work.

The population as a whole must be satisfied with the odd and very poorly paid jobs offered by the government. For this reason, many want to leave their country and work abroad. In stark contrast to this reality, we discovered open faces, outstretched hands, mutual trust and even a form of admiration, wonder at our commitment. How can we forget this sentence of a visiting seminarian: "you are here like a light for people"? And even more, that of the priest: "since your arrival, you have transmitted your joy to the whole village"?sos chretiens orient jordanie temoignage labrouhe 2

What I remember from these people is also their attachment to the faith: even before the start of our mission, the prayers of the faithful were for us. They also attended mass daily in the Latin Church for some of them, which was simply the Arabic transposition of the one we know in France. This contributed to a greater proximity between westerners and easterners. This closeness manifested itself in meaningful phrases like "you are my brother in Christ" uttered by our new associates, or invitations to pray for them and for an improvement in their situation.

What a good time we spent together with the young people of the village, from the animation of the summer school for the children to the evenings spent telling us jokes! The football games, the traditional meals, the restoration of the sidewalks, the complete cleaning of the gardens of the church, the planting of trees around the latter will have been events of great value and far-reaching: how to show more solidarity and in communion with the Christians of the East other than by sharing every moment of their life? Testifying to this willingness to share his treasures, the Greek-Melkite priest took us in the last days to contemplate the Arnon Valley, a river flowing into the Dead Sea, which is a beautiful place mentioned in the Bible.

sos chretiens orient jordanie temoignage labrouhe 3After fraternizing with Jordanian Christians, we turned to Iraqi refugees, mostly Chaldean Christians. We found even greater distress there, requiring donations of food that we provided for them. As I spoke with them a little, I realized the deep injustice they had faced: many of them who had good jobs in Iraq had been threatened and replaced because of their religion.

One even narrowly escaped an assassination attempt. Families have been bruised by ISIS, lost loved ones and left their country in disaster to come here. They aspire to a new life but cannot work because it is forbidden to them by the Jordanian power, it is moreover difficult for them to leave for the countries of the West - often because of their religion with regard to the European countries! Many are waiting for a visa from Anglo-Saxon countries that are sometimes difficult to obtain such as Canada, Australia, the United States or any country, or help from the UN and NGOs.

Almost all Iraqi refugees wait to leave not only to have a job but also to educate their children, who cannot attend government schools. That’s why we ran a summer school in Amman for refugee children. These children, although clearly disadvantaged, were very welcoming and receptive to our presence, our French lessons and our games. Like their children, refugees have always greeted us warmly with politeness and kindness. A significant part is in great difficulty, and this situation has been accentuated by the Covid-19 pandemic and government measures.

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As I discover the moving history of these families and that of Eastern Christians in general, I am seized with a deep empathy which prompts me to become even more involved in their cause and to consider a new mission in the East.

Benoît de Labrouhe


 

SOS Chrétiens d'Orient sends volunteers throughout the year. Like Benoît, come and live an unforgettable experience in Jordan. Don't ask yourself questions. The only limits are the ones you impose on yourself.

Per day, the mission of a volunteer costs the association 33 €. If you can't leave, sponsor a volunteer, donate.