Africa and the Middle East featured program: Jordan
Jordan is circled by Israel, Palestinian territories, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Iraq, but is unexpectedly peaceful in contrast to the turmoil generally found in this region.
Bordering the Dead Sea, Jordan is home to the lowest place on the earth’s surface, at an elevation of 408 meters below sea level. Its lone port, Aqaba, is in the south on the Red Sea.
It is a land of contrasting landscapes, with the Jordan Valley to the west and deserts to the east. Jordan is home to Wadi Rum, Petra and the Ancient City of Jerash, but it is also a mosaic of beautiful, azure scenes. One can see the Dead Sea, rolling hills and deserts dotted with olive trees, fabulous vistas over the Sea of Galilee and the Golan Heights, vegetable farms, spring flowers, boulder-strewn hills that look like moonscapes, star-filled desert skies and Bedouin herder tents that seem to blend into the landscape.
The summers are hot and dry. Winters are mild, but snow occasionally blankets Amman and the hills to the north; even Petra sees snow occasionally.
Jordan boasts the most educated populace in the Arab world, but unemployment is high and rising, especially in rural areas where Habitat focuses its work in the country. The Jordanian government used to be the largest employer, but now only the most skilled recruits have access to these jobs.
With just over 5 million inhabitants, Jordan has sheltered hundreds of thousands of refugees in recent decades and Palestinians now account for the majority of the population. Average Jordanians have incomes ranging from as little as US$155 to US$423. Extended families survive by combining the income of two or three family members in families that commonly have 10 or more children.
Poverty housing is particularly common in rural areas, where many families live in a variety of concrete and block constructions. Kitchen and toilet facilities may be outside and two bedrooms may house an extended family of 15 or more. Houses are often partially constructed, with dirt floors and inadequate roofs. Water is in short supply throughout the country.
Habitat Jordan was founded in 2001 and has constructed or renovated houses for more than 500 families. Habitat Jordan currently works in five communities, including Greater Amman. The program is expected to grow significantly with burgeoning local and Global Village volunteer programs and the establishment of numerous new affiliates.
Like other countries in the region, long-lasting partnerships with community-based organizations are central to Habitat Jordan’s work. Since its founding, Habitat Jordan has been working in close partnership with the YMCA and the Ministry of Community Development to provide holistic support for poor and marginalized families. Habitat Jordan provides wholesale loans for housing and renovations that impact clean water and sanitation. Through collaboration, the complex and interrelated needs of families are addressed, and communities are transformed.
In addition to its conventional housing projects, Habitat Jordan with its partners offer no-profit loans to replace inadequate roofs, add kitchens and install indoor toilets for families who might otherwise not qualify for conventional loans. These changes can create a secure home and protect families from the elements and are a building block in our goal of ending poverty housing.
Types of construction for volunteers
Team members assist with mixing cement, hauling blocks, laying and mortaring blocks, bending and tying rebar and roof construction.
Housing solutions in Jordan are built using appropriate, locally available building materials that meet specific housing requirements. Houses have cement or tile floors and plastered block walls with reinforced block. Poured cement roofs allow families the opportunity to build a second floor in the future.
Habaka, Al Himmeh and Al Adassieh.
In Amman, teams will stay in double-occupancy rooms with private baths at a three- or four-star hotel similar to Amman Inn. Accommodations in other locations are local guesthouses with separate communal sleeping for males and females with shared Western toilets and showers.
Travel to and from the airport and project locations will be in air-conditioned vans and touring coaches (depending on the size of the team) coordinated by a Jordanian tour agent.
Teams will have the opportunity to try traditional Jordanian dishes including fuul, or broad beans, flafel, yogurt, labneh, tabbouleh, fattoosh, shwarma, tahini, zaatar-sprinkled bread, maqlubbeh, kabseh, mansaf, humus, kababs, gallai, a variety of fresh-from-the-oven breads and khobz, kunafa, Turkish coffee and shai (sweet hot tea). Impressive, inexpensive local produce includes dates, figs, citrus fruits, eggplant, tomatoes and a variety of other vegetables.
During build days, team members will be provided with a lunch—the main meal of the day—at the build site or guesthouse. Breakfast and dinner are typically lighter meals with fruit, eggs, bread, cereal and pasta prepared by the team at their accommodations.
Please let the GV coordinator know of specific dietary needs (e.g., vegetarian, lactose intolerant, fasting, etc.) prior to arriving in Jordan.
Hosting structure and services
The GV coordinator will be the key contact for all teams. Habitat Jordan has recommended that the teams work with Dead Sea Beach Tours for scheduling any R&R and cultural activity days at the beginning or end of the trip.
Day 1 (typically Friday): Depart for Jordan.
Day 2 (Saturday): Travel day and arrival in Amman.
Day 3, (Sunday): Orientation at hotel; depart for build site; travel to affiliate (two to three hours); lunch in transit or on arrival; site orientation and training; dinner prepared by team at guesthouse.
Days 4–6 (Monday–Wednesday): Breakfast at guesthouse; travel to work site to build at 7:30a.m.–4:30p.m.; lunch on-site or at guesthouse; dinner prepared by team at guesthouse; cultural or team activities in evening.
Day 7 (Thursday): Breakfast at guesthouse; work on-site 7:30a.m.–12:30p.m.; house dedication; travel to Amman for departure or dinner; overnight at hotel.
Day 8 (Friday): Free day of cultural activities or departure.
Day 9 (Saturday): Breakfast at hotel; depart for home.
Starting at US$1,530
View what is included in the standard budget.