Today’s post comes to you from PeacePlayers International — Middle East (PPI-ME) Fellow, Jamie Walsh, who has been working at the PPI-ME site for nearly a year now.
As the first half of my time as an American Fellow in the Middle East comes to an end and I have the opportunity to travel back to the states for a short vacation, I thought I would take this chance to reflect on my PPI experience so far. When I traveled to the Middle East, I was extremely excited but also quite nervous. I didn’t know exactly what to expect and wondered what it would be like to live so far from home in a place that was so different from anything I knew. Although it took a little bit of time to adjust, I don’t think I could have ever imagined just how much this program and these people would change my life.
The PeacePlayers participants welcomed me with open arms from day one. The amount of positivity they possess despite the hardships they face of living in such a high conflict area is truly inspiring. They are so open and accepting of each other even though they are sometimes told that they shouldn’t be either by their communities or things they see in the news on a daily basis. They have really shown me how to appreciate the little things in life, and my life has been richer for it. I am also grateful to the PPI staff as they give so much of themselves everyday to make this program work and have an impact on the lives it touches. The PPI staff has truly welcomed me into their family and I really do now have a “home away from home.”
Although I hope to make some small, positive impact on the people and the program here, I know I will never be able to give everyone as much as they have already given to me. Most of the staff and kids I interact with on a daily basis will never know the effect they have had on my life and the lessons they have taught me just by being themselves. I look forward to the second half of my journey and can’t wait to continue learning and making memories!