I have been here long enough to get over most of the jet lag and was only up at about 4:30 AM this morning. I asked for directions (in Arabic of course) from the hotel in Jabal Hussein to the Sports City where there is a bit of a forest oasis among the concrete jungle which is Amman. You don't find many cars on the road at 0500 and certainly not any other joggers.
I had passed by the Sports City before, but never knew that there was a track or path of sorts through the trees. The directions were not to difficult and made it there, but couldn't find an open gate at that time in the morning so just kept running since I finally found a spot that was reasonably flat. As I turned the corner I saw someone else running and followed him to the one open gate and then eventually found the path in the dark. So if you are in Amman and looking for a place to run and exercise this is definitely a good spot. Running on the streets, even early in the morning isn't the best, and with the huge curbs it almost feels like you are doing a steeplechase race.
I am definittely getting my feet wet on the NGO stuff here and the many obstacles to trying to help and empower the many less fortunate people in Jordan. The group that I am working with has done some amazing work in the Northwest part of the country in and around Ajloun. This part of the country is a little off the beaten path and not nearly as popular as some of the other more notable tourist spots like Petra, Mount Nebo, The Dead Sea, and others. That being said, there is a lot of very interesting history and lush vegetation that you will not find in the other parts of the country.
The group has done a lot of work educating, training, and providing business skills, mostly to women in that area and has had a tremendous amount of success. I am helping them write a proposal to receive additional funding to expand the current program. A lot of people who visit Amman make it to the Wild Jordan and buy a lot of the products that are produced in the area and the most popular is probably the soap made from olive oil and other locally grown herbs. The actual soap house is located on the trail network that interconnects several of the villages that have come together to build and administer the hiking trails through the area.
The local women have also received training in how to run and operate small B&B's from their homes and whether or not you actually spend the night you can hike the trails and the locals will open up their homes to serve meals and snacks as well as share some of the local history. It is definitely an area worth exploring and not on the usual to do lists while visiting Jordan.