Today’s session was led by the enormously impressive Alexandra Chen, a clinical psychologist with vast experience of working with displaced people, who has been involved with Jusoor from the very beginning. She confounds expectations, as a Hong Kong Chinese who lives in the Middle East and is married to an Arab, who has a Harvard email address but has recently been working in Greece and Jordan.
She emphasised how privileged we were to be working at Jusoor (something Val and I are fully in accordance with), but tempered that by reminding us that this was not about us, that we were there to do what we could to help the school, the teachers, the children. It was very good sense, and did make Val and I reflect on our time last year in Johannesburg.
The hardest lesson for me to take on was the message that, for these children in particular, who have had so much taken from them, we are not here to breeze in, make an emotional contact, and then breeze out again. As a teacher, I have always wanted to make a difference, to provide memorable experiences, and to be remembered and valued for those things. Can I, on this occasion at least, manage the first two and leave out the third?