January 24, 2003 - North Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church: Peace Corps volunteer Allison Monroe tells story of life in Jordan

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Jordan: Peace Corps Jordan : The Peace Corps in Jordan: January 24, 2003 - North Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church: Peace Corps volunteer Allison Monroe tells story of life in Jordan

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Peace Corps volunteer Allison Monroe tells story of life in Jordan

Peace Corps volunteer Allison Monroe tells story of life in Jordan

Peace Corps volunteer tells story of life in Jordan

Allison Monroe, recent Peace Corps volunteer, recalls her experiences in Jordan and the plight of the Palestinians as she shares her collection of photographs of life in the Middle East.
By Dr. Joan Gray LaBarr

Allison Monroe is a 23-year-old young adult from First UMC, Richardson, who has returned from five months service with the Peace Corps in Jordan, and has a story to tell.

Monroe, who graduated from Trinity University, San Antonio, in May 2002 with a degree in sociology and economics, had been trained and sent to Jordan five months before. Monroe came home when the U.S. Government evacuated Peace Corps volunteers from Jordan in November 2002.

Now on speaking circuit
Since returning, Monroe has been speaking to churches and groups and will be lecturing at her alma mater, Trinity University, in February.

Monroe says that she felt safe in Jordan where she lived in a predominantly Christian village and worked with women and girls, teaching computer classes and the English language. She says that she lived with a Christian family in a suburb of Amman, the Jordanian capital. She was in an area near the Jordan River that had been part of ancient Israel.

When she looked out her bedroom window, Monroe could see the Jordan River and the lights of Jerusalem in the distance. The family with whom she was living was Orthodox Christian. Monroe attended what she describes as a wonderfully beautiful Orthodox church with her host family.

Allison Monroe and other internationals talk with Israeli defense force officers to negotiate the release of several men at a check point between Berzeit and Ramalah so the men could attend their university classes. Some of the men had been waiting for 4 hours.
Palestinian refugees
Monroe says that Christians make up only four or five percent of Jordan's population. Most others are Muslim. A large percentage of the population is composed of Palestinian refugees living with very few resources.

Prior to being assigned to the Christian village, Monroe spent two months living with a Muslim family during her training period. During that time she worked on mastering the Arabic language and learning to live in a culture dramatically different from her own.

The plight of the Palestinians reinforced concerns that Monroe developed on a trip to Israel and Palestine shortly before beginning her Peace Corps training. Her Palestine trip came as a last minute decision to honor the request of the team leader who said he needed a photographer.

Monroe took photos throughout her time in the Middle East, and they remain a powerful reflection of people in a desperate situation.

Wanted Asian assignment
Monroe, who had originally hoped to be assigned to Asia, believes that God was clearly involved in sending her to Jordan. The day before she was to leave on the hastily arranged trip to Palestine, she received a call from the Peace Corps that she would not be sent to Asia as expected, but was headed for Jordan and the Middle East.

Asked what she plans to do in the future, Monroe says that she is living at home and prayerfully considering whether to seek another Peace Corps assignment or move in another direction. Meanwhile, she is available to speak to churches, youth groups, and others who have an interest in her experiences and insights.

To request Allison Monroe for a speaking arrangement, please call 214-660-0990.

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Story Source: North Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Jordan



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