On the roads out to the villages, the horizon line is full of empty, dry land. What grows here? Wind whips dust into the air and blurs the line between the hazy sky and the cracked earth. It seems impossible that, come springtime, this desert scape could be brimming with green grass and new life. Yet, the people here are accustomed to this yearly shift, the depth of dryness followed by the hope of the harvest.
Nestled in the heart of one of these barren villages sits the Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) Center, where children with disabilities daily come from near and far to receive support. In this place, families are encouraged and trained to provide rehabilitation for their children, and relationships bloom by consequence. New life growing here is a challenging task, however. And although the windows of the CBR Center look out onto seemingly empty hills, something extraordinary is being sown within.
This extraordinary sowing is perhaps felt most palpably by the volunteers. After serving the people of their villages together for several years, the volunteers have developed a uniquely life-giving bond that defies even cultural norms in Jordan. The trust they share supersedes family, blood, or tribe.
The volunteers explain their shared trust in a morning meeting at the center. These women have developed a deep friendship in a culture that typically discourages the trust of those unrelated by blood. "We've become more than sisters," says Rania. She goes on to explain that before they began serving in the center, they only saw each other on special occasions, but now "[we] know everything about each other." Om Salim chimes in, "these relationships have been strengthened, and there's something different [about it]." As all the women heartily agree, Lema adds, "every day, the relationship between us grows."
"We keep no secrets from each other," Rania giggles, exclaiming, "If (one of us) becomes upset, another will comfort her, and another will wipe her eyes!" When asked about the reason for their strong friendship, Rema immediately responds, "Because the most important thing is not my self-interest, but the interest of the child first." She says that as they work for the child's benefit, "we've become united."
These women are bonded by the "good of the child" they're working with, as local volunteer Rema puts it, and they gather together around this central aim.
The view of the horizon from the CBR window is changing. As new life sprouts up and lurches forward around the CBR Center and throughout the villages, these volunteers look up and forwards toward a relational landscape that is changed from within. The presence of the CBR Center bridges tribe, family, and blood. Women who would typically never have extended more than social niceties now call each other sisters.
These are signs of springtime.