First Excursion

We had a few days in our Madaba hotels before we were divided up and sent to our villages. I think of those hotels fondly now. The Black Iris was luxurious, and our Queen Ayola was quaint and romantic, even if the beds were a little scratchy and the facilities primitive. Already, though, PCTs began to fall like dominoes. One older woman determined on her first day in Jordan that she couldn’t handle the two years of teetotalling that stretched before us, and she went right back home. A tall, elegant mother of teenagers had a nervous breakdown on the second day and was medivac’ed back to the States to be reunited with her family. I felt great sympathy for her, thinking of my own near-panic attack at the airport.
When we found out which of the five training villages we would each be living in for our ten weeks of training, Naureen and I both got placed in the same village, with Jennifer as our LCF. It was a primarily Christian village, but Naureen would be living with a Muslim family. The patriarch of the town’s most important Christian family was hosting Michael, an extraordinarily tall young man who had joined the Peace Corps to learn Arabic before going into the United States Foreign Service. Jesse was a tall, slim guy with an unruly mop of straight dark hair. He reminded me of a lot of the farm boys I grew up with, and I took an immediate liking to his casual, friendly style.