Wednesday, May 23, 2007

14 hours later

Flying along the sunset the plane tipped so that I could get my first glimpse of Jordan as we approached Amman. The land is the rich brown of cocoa spilled on a counter top. It looks peaceful as it glows with the last warmth of today's sun, while I am busy anticipating my landing in the desert. Fourteen hours of flying: reading guidebooks, briefing books, travel books, conversations brief, polite, powerful, and mundane; travel full of cute, curl-haired children; the bitter rest that is sleeping on a plane, and I find myself thirsty.

Right-handed dominance could be a problem for me. As someone who has been known to say, "I am so left, I'm left-handed" I think I am going to have to work extra hard to just remember to use my right hand, let alone master it. Luckily I am in good company as another woman is left-handed, too. We joked that it will be just one more offensive thing to add to the list of offensive things that may be expected of us as Western women. Let's hope not.

I was told at our briefing that as a Western woman I would be treated like an honorary man anyway. That's great, but until that comes with a US Senate seat, I would just as soon dress and behave in a way that helps me organize, gets me maximum access to people so I can learn about them and then figure out what, if anything, I can offer and what I can learn about myself.

We had a surprise and brief introduction to the Iraqi teachers we will be working with on Friday this evening. Although I am looking forward to our work with the AFL-CIO Solidarity Center tomorrow, it is our time with these teachers I am most anticipating at this point.

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