This blog entry is by Joliene Gatlin, who is currently traveling with the Holy Places and Displacements immersion to Jordan, Palestine, and Israel.

“We’re now flying over Israel,” the Lufthansa flight attendant announced over the loudspeaker.

Palestin!” shouted a passenger, followed by another.

The flight attendant went on, using the occupying title again.

“Palestin!” they shouted.

No one said anything.

Soon after, one of the gentlemen turned around to comment on my rapidly wiggling foot.  A refugee and resident of Amman, he told us how great a time we’d surely have.  “You must see Petra!” he said.  After a fairly substantial conversation for a plane ride, I typed my name into his phone so he could find me on Facebook.  Everyone has been so kind.

When we arrived at the Jordan airport, we were greeted by 3 men with 3 vans who would be driving us for the next few days.  We split into 3 groups and 5 of us headed to a van, following our guide.  He loaded our baggage into the trunk.  As he started the van, Arabic music flooded through the speakers.

“Sorry,” he said, and turned it down.

“No!  Please!” we insisted and enjoyed the voice, moving along an unfamiliar key with beautiful agility.  The driver told us about the farming in the region–strawberries, olives, bananas, oranges…

We pulled to a stop alongside another of our vans.  The two rolled the windows down.

“I am the king!” said the other driver.

“You are a refugee!” our driver said, smiling.

“We are all refugees, my friend,” was his response.

They were laughing, but it was only funny because it wasn’t.