By Carol Fadalla, 2019 Fulbright Leader
It was a beautiful, sunny day in Amman at Al Hussein Public Park for our third session of camp. Volunteers arrived at 9:30 am to set up in anticipation of welcoming large a contingent of girls from Reclaim Childhood and Sawiyan as well as a growing group of individual campers from across town. As a succession of yellow buses arrived at 10 am, a wave of eager and excited girls ran onto the field. The bonds formed between the girls was evident as they hugged and greeted the friends they have made over the past weeks!
Coach Rawda assembled the girls along the white line of the soccer field, welcoming them back and reminding them of the running camp’s goals. After Coach Rawda kicked off camp, volunteers Abdullah and Abdelqayom Albasha let the girls in a series of stretches and speed drills. While Abdullah and Abdelqayom had hoped to compete in the Boston Marathon this upcoming Monday, unfortunately their visa is still under review. Instead, they donated their time today supporting camp.
The first activity was a running warmup where girls had to run from one cone to the other along the soccer field. The older girls were assigned as leaders, and they each led their younger peers and encouraged their team members to do their best.
After two rounds, the girls started to run farther as volunteers offered high fives to them after each successful lap along the way. Then the girls cooled down with a set of stretches and a water break.
Before lunch, Coach Rwanda gathered all the girls in a circle, told them to place their right hand in and chant: Nina, Nina, Nina! On their lunch break, the girls sat under the shade eating their delicious Shawarma and choice of fruit. The volunteers began to lay out the journals and, after eating, each camper was invited to take their book back to the soccer field.
Today's main journal question was: what makes a good team player? Before writing their own answers the girls shared their thoughts in a group, mentioning respect, helping those who fall behind, and caring for each other as important aspects of teamwork. After discussing as a group, each student was given five minutes to reflect on their own and record their answers. After each student provided three important aspects of teamwork, volunteers collected the journals and prepared them to meet our amazing guest speaker for the day: Lamis AlZaim, a trainer at SheFighter Amman, the leading self-defense school for women in the Middle East.
Started by Lina Khalifeh, SheFighter is a renowned organization that has been featured on AJ+ for its mission to advocate for women’s rights through martial arts. It is the first self-defense training center in Jordan. We were honored to have Lamis lead a workshop with the girls to share this mission and encourage them to be powerful. First, Lamis gathered the girls in a semi-circle and discussed the importance of self-defense as a tool for empowerment. The girls sat in awe as they listened to and watched Lamis demonstrate the core moves of self-defense. For each demonstration, the girls raised their hands to volunteer and participate in the demonstration, with sincere anticipation to practice themselves. Finally, the girls partnered up and practiced the moves they had just learned. After a long day filled with activities, the girls gathered their bags to leave and get on the buses. The volunteers cleaned up and debriefed their thoughts on how the camp went. Overall, another great day in Amman!