Transformed by a shared experience of community and lifelong friendships, Alumni of International House NY carry the I-House Spirit wherever they go. Below, a glimpse into life during pandemic in Jordan.
Amy Ameera Issa ’19 (Romanian/Jordanian)
Occupation: Architect & Urban Planning Designer
How have you and your family been affected? On my family level, the financial damages caused by the COVID were recovered through saving, but across the community, job loss has caused many families to suffer from a tight situation. On the bright side, the Jordanian government has been providing great health and safety services and support to the residents for free. There is government support and community awareness and support for each other even with limited resources. Generally, being in Jordan during the pandemic we feel safe and supported.
What aspect of your community has become more apparent in this difficult time?
The power of Social Capital. Jordan has been transparent and good with local communications, and there is appreciation within society for the government’s role–everyone is being responsible and serious about the situation. In the first wave of the pandemic, the government provided hotels (even five-star hotels) for free to quarantine the Jordanians coming back to Jordan. Jordan passed the first wave of COVID-19 when I arrived and there was a celebration period where everything was opening up and zero cases were recorded. But within the next weeks there were new cases coming from the land borders. Despite suffering from limited resources, the government is providing free COVID tests for whomever needs to be tested from outside or currently living in Jordan. This has made Jordan known internationally as one of the best countries in resilience facing the pandemic.
What has been a moment when you felt particularly connected and a part of a community? During the shutdown of the I-House South building, the transitioning phase for me between leaving NYC and arriving to Jordan [was difficult]. I was sick and alone, and trying to finalize grad school, which added a heavy load, especially writing my thesis. I overcame through support from family, university professors and I-House friendships and staff.
I learned the real definition of being flexible and hopeful. The staff was busy managing the crisis. I don’t blame them, it was harsh times. But what really gave me huge support were the I-House friendships and residents. They were amazing in finding connections and fast solutions for the crisis. I found temporary housing through an Alum I met at I-House, Lebo Mahlare. I felt connected and supported mostly by the residents, and they never failed me.
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