Party in the Park

Monday July 7, 2014

On Monday night the centre was buzzing with anticipation. The men washed up and put on cologne, and I saw the women wearing makeup for the first time since I was here and dressed up beautifully. We brought all the women and men down and loaded ourselves into two buses that would take us to the party in the park. After 20 minutes of singing in the bus (of course) we arrived atop a hill overlooking Amman.

The park reminded me of Tuwaiq Palace in Saudi, with similar architecture and paved with the same sand coloured stones. We sat out on the patio and listened to the muezzin recite the adan as the sun set. We broke our fast to a feast, and at the end sat back to enjoy a singing show while the men smoked shisha.

Just being out of the centre had a marked difference on the patients. They were cheerier and conversation flowed more smoothly. They were even happier than the night before when a famous guest, Marwan Bulbul from the Syrian TV show Bab Al 7ara, was visiting. Despite the glamour of a TV star visiting, and the women being allowed to eat in the yard with the men, this atmosphere was somehow more genuine, and sweeter.

It was beautiful that something we take for granted like going to the park was such an adventure and happy time. Yes, I know it’s cliché, but it really put things in perspective for me. In order for everyone to get there, we had to carry the patients in wheelchairs down in their chairs, help people with crutches, make sure everyone had their meds and crutches, the amputees all put on their prosthetic legs (which most of them don’t like because they’re often clunky and painful), and load everyone on to the bus. It nearly took an hour to get situated and explained why we simply can’t do this every day – especially for the women on the second floor.

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