Weekly Reports from Jordan

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For La Sierra University and Other

For La Sierra University

• Finished an &^(*%#@! annual assessment report for the La Sierra Divinity School which has taken hours, days and weeks of my life. The only thing I need to know about heaven is that there will be no more assessment there. No more crying there, no more dying there, and, therefore, no more assessment there (which is the cause of most crying and dying, from all I can tell). If only this is true, I promise not to eat between meals ever again, and clean off my plate every time I sit at the table. And keep a level eye. And go on God’s errands. And walk softly in the sanctuary.

Other

• Tylenol bombs

â—¦ Made my regular stop by our travel agent’s apartment to deliver two bright red containers of Tylenol tablets, something I take to her in white plastic bottles from the States every trip I make, since she doesn’t like the locally grown versions. Vicky Khano has to be in her mid to upper 80s, but keeps on working. She has been bed-ridden for several months, however, due to surgery to repair a broken leg near her hip brought on by severe osteoporosis. So she did not answer my knock at the door of her apartment (she owns the building). I left the two red plastic containers by the door. Within an hour I received a phone call, asking me to come back by. When I got there she told me that her housemaid saw the red containers, called her in fear, and watched as Vicky sought help from the neighbors to determine if the red containers might be dangerous, perhaps IEDs placed there to create havoc. When someone read on the label that this was Tylenol, she knew I had been there. She wanted me to thank Carmen, who had purchased the Tylenol, for providing some excitement with the Tylenol bombs.

• Traffic jams and Ramadan

â—¦ In advance of Ramadan (10 July through 9 August), traffic in Amman became impossibly clogged. I even began using as the ring tone on my mobile phone something called “clogged.” It sounds all too much like car horns of those inextricably stuck in traffic. Summers are already unbearable because of the influx of refugees from all over the Middle East and the vacationing Gulf populations who find Jordan cooler than Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iraq. Add to this the onset of Ramadan with everyone of legal driving age out in search of groceries and goodies and street constipation takes over.

• End-of-life loss of wireless

â—¦ Panic set in late one Thursday evening with the total loss of wireless access to the internet. This happens in Jordan on Thursdays, which mark the end of the work week, and the beginning of Yom al-Jumah, Islam’s Friday for prayers. Internet (over)use can at times bring everything to a standstill, electronically speaking. For most of us in academic settings, ten seconds without direct access to the cyber-world has been known to produce high anxiety levels; an hour, heart attacks. Several hours without this tether to the outside world seems like an eternity. We just experienced eternity. But with the coming of dawn, and restored internet access, calm prevails once more and life has returned to (ab)normal.

So, in sum, we achieved some of our goals for going to Jordan this summer, marginally missed others, and never even got close to addressing still other tasks.

Sunrise over Amman, as seen from ACOR

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