World View Magazine - Spring 2008 - (Page 35)

Its largest import partners were Saudi Arabia and Germany, respectively. e United States is fourth on the import list. Jordan has limited natural resources. Its only natural resources are potash and phosphates. Unlike many other countries in the Middle East, Jordan has no oil of its own. In the 1990s its oil needs were met by imports from Iraq. When the war in Iraq began in 2003, Jordan turned to others in the Gulf. Most of its oil coming from Saudi Arabia. Jordan has limited agricultural land, limited natural resources and water remains scarce. Jordan is trying to expand its water supply and improve its management, largely through regional cooperation. Over the past several years, exports of textiles and clothing enter the United States free of tariffs and quotas. ese manufactured goods have been helping to drive economic growth since about 2000. Even with recent economic growth, Jordan continues to have problems with poverty, unemployment and inflation. Approximately 30 percent of the population is below the poverty line. e official unemployment rate last year was 15.4 percent, but the unofficial rate is approximately 30 percent. Last year’s inflation rate was 6.2 percent. Despite King Abdullah’s economic reforms and increasing trade and foreign investment, Jordan’s economy remains vulnerable to regional instability and conflict. With a population of more than six million people, there are an estimated 4.5 million mobile phones in use, and 600,000 land lines. Phone service has improved with digital switching equipment but the rural areas still need better telephone access. Only about 800,000 have Internet access. e government has recently pledged to put 50 percent of the population on the Internet by 2011 by reducing access costs. e media remain under tight governmental control. Reporters Without Borders says the Jordanian government “sets the tone” for the main newspapers. omas Strouse is the James R. Collins Fellow. Visit www.friendso to learn about e Friends of Jordan Association and find blogs by serving Peace Corps volunteers. Letter from Accra WAITING And learning the ways of Ghana’s mini-vans by K. Coleman Foote E verything’s gonna be alright. Everything’s gonna be alright… e Bob Marley refrain tiptoes through my head like a lazy island breeze, but my stomach is queasy as I climb out of bed. I’ve just awaken at 7:30, and I need to get somewhere by 8:30: a creative writing class at Worker’s College in Accra. At least, that’s the plan. e trip from where I’m staying in the suburb of Madina should take at least an hour. On top of it, public transportation in Accra is iffy. And making plans in Ghana doesn’t necessarily work. As I’m emerging from the bathroom, I hear what sounds like a newborn infant crying outside the front door, so I go investigate. I smile at what I see beyond the screen. It’s a bright-white, fluffy kid with stick legs, looking so adorable it could have come off a Toys ‘R’ Us shelf. I’ve asked Ghanaians how they know who owns the sheep, goats, chickens, and guard dogs of the neighborhood, which wander around alone. Someone shrugged and said, “ ey know where to go when they must eat.” Being American and accustomed to regimentation and regulations, it’s been difficult for me to adjust to the idea of being so lax. But I know I must exercise that principle today, since I still want to make it to my class. So what if I’ve overslept? Who knows, maybe a balloonist flying over Accra would sweep me up and fly me there. Miracles do happen, right? Or maybe the kid at my door would lead me to its owner, who would just so happen to own a taxi, and would give me a ride. e kid circles around, bawling. Listening. en bawling again. I can’t resist trying the goat/sheep call-and-response routine I’ve grown accustomed to hearing during my short stay in Ghana. I emit my best nasal, “Maaa!” e kid cocks its head to the side and gallops to the screen door. I can hear the question mark behind its squeaky, “Aaaaaa.” Its round eyes are hopefully staring. Wondering, probably, at the odd sight of giant me on the other side of the screen. Guilt prods at me. I’ve successfully mimicked a mama goat, but I’ve left a kid teased. And shouldn’t I be getting myself ready, since I’m already late? I end up leaving the house at 8:00, pretty sure I won’t get to my class on time. And trying not to care–too much. Along the way to where I need to catch transportation, I realize that after living in Ghana for a month, I’m starting to feel less like a visitor to this place. Nana Efua, who works at the communication center close to where I live, calls a “Good morningo” to me. Across the way, I wave at the woman whose name I don’t know, who sometimes sells me clusters of plastic-wrapped peanuts. Close to the main road, I exchange nods with Bright, who owns a barbershop. e three boys who usually hang around it, acting coy whenever they see me, skip after me to the main road, asking, “Please, madame, may we call on you at home?” Routine has also helped me feel more adjusted. At the main road, I cross the gutter as expertly as any Ghanaian can. I pass the junction leading to the “Redd Lobster” restaurant that serves hardly any seafood, where your meal costs more if you sit inside with the air-conditioning and TV. I head down the road to the provisional store WorldView 35

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of World View Magazine - Spring 2008

World View Magazine - Spring 2008
From the President
Lafayette Park
Your Turn
Note to Readers
Introduction to the Issue
Engaging Masons
Letter from Guatemala
Links of a Chain
Science for Good
Letter from Jima
Another Country
Letter from Accra
Community News

World View Magazine - Spring 2008