Friday, September 2, 2011


Today was the two week anniversary of my arrival here in Jordan. While I have definitely had some incredible experiences (which I will be posting about in the next few days, when I'm not feeling quite so whiny), I have also encountered some down-sides and harsh realities to life here. While many of these realities are more abstract, political, or philosophical, there are two physical realities that I have encountered here: bug bites & blisters.

Bug bites continue to be the bane of my existence here in Jordan. I woke up this morning to these beautiful sights: 

Four bug bites on my arm.

Nine bug bites on my leg/ankle/foot

Weird angle, I know, but you get the idea.  THIRTEEN NEW BUG BITES. They literally appeared overnight. It seems like such a silly thing to worry about, but they're driving me insane. Its pretty hard to sit still and focus in class for three hours everyday when my body feels like its on fire. I've usually been getting between 8-12 new bites every night for the last two weeks. Do the math. Tragedy.

As a spoiled American, I'm not used to minor inconveniences like bug bites, and I'm even less accustomed to blisters. Walking to and from class each day in flip-flops has given me some pretty intense blisters on both of my feet. I mean, I could wear sneakers, but its sooooo hottttttt. At home, everyone drives everywhere. I live about 5-10 miles from the places I go daily, so driving saves me a lot of time and usually just makes more sense.

All in all, I have a new appreciation for people who deal with these two seemingly insignificant problems. Have bug bites? Just use some Benadryl! Oh wait, WE DON'T HAVE THAT HERE. Bug spray also seems to be non-existant. Got blisters? Just drive. Oh wait, a lot of people throughout the world don't have cars, and definitely don't have spare cash to be spending on taxis. MCC pays for my food, housing, living, and occupancy expenses, which includes taxi rides. This means that when I get blisters, I can just hop in a cab (like I'll definitely be doing tomorrow) knowing that the cost is taken care of. What about the people who can't? What about Jesus, a man who travelled all over present day Israel, Jordan, and Syria in shoes that probably weren't too comfy? He walked and healed and blessed and taught. He changed the world, despite his blisters.

What about the women around the world who have to walk to the market to get food for their families? Today, I was hanging out with Cindy, the MCC representative in Jordan. We walked about a half a mile downhill to the weekly Friday market to get fruits and veggies, and then had to trudge back up the hill, our bags overflowing with produce. By the time we got back to the house, we were both overheated and exhausted. Going to the market was an incredible experience, and I had a great time, but it was sooooo tempting to just get a cab to take me back to the house with those bags. I didn't, mainly because I knew that wouldn't give me an authentic market experience - and I really wanted one. But I had the option. What if it wasn't just a half mile walk back from the market? What if it was a mile walk? Or a five mile walk? Would I still have walked? Who knows. But so many here have no choice but to ignore their aches and pains, bug bites and blisters, and just keep on moving. I admire their determination, and I hope that by the time I leave this place, I will have absorbed a bit of their perseverance.


  1. Ew, those bites look mightily unpleasant, friend. Do you know what kind of bugs they are? Is the "on fire" from pain or itchiness? I'm very sorry you're dealing with that. We just have mosquitoes here. And poisonous caterpillars.
    Nice thought about Jesus' blisters, though. You don't really think about stuff like that. Well, I don't. Good luck fighting off the critters tonight!

  2. I'm thinking that theyre spider bites, and the "on fire" is first itchiness, but then I scratch them and they start bleeding and hurting. I'm my own worst enemy when it comes to bug bites... I just can't leave them alone! POISONOUS CATERPILLARS?!? That sounds awesome/ridiculous/terrifying. I need an update on life in your corner of the world!