“Spongebob Squarepants has been painted on the entire side of one caravan, and an Arabic phrase has been gracefully painted on another. This kind of incongruity I see throughout the camp. Two women are dressed in traditional full-length hijabs, for example, but the man behind them is wearing a Golden State Warriors t-shirt. A man in a robe encourages a donkey to pull a cart, yet right past him are young boys with smartphones huddled near a fence looking for better cell reception. A little further down the road and on my right I see a shoeless kid laughing and rolling a tire, but on my left, I spot a vast number of solar-powered panels. This constant juxtaposition is jarring and yet beautiful, and I am taken back by the energy of the place.”
This is from the other Professor Dixon, my brother Shane, an ESL professor at Arizona State who travels abroad frequently to train ESL teachers around the world (he’s taught MOOCs and is a rock star in the ESL world–trust me–he’s awesome). I was thrilled to hear that he would not only be going to Jordan, but working within the Za’atari refugee camp. He’s a keen observer of the cultural and urban landscapes.