Day 3: Zarqa, Madaba

The Church is, at its best, a witness to hope, a sign of life’s fullness. Today, traveling to locations in Jordan, our journalists’ group saw much to be hopeful about, but also saw more than one place that is far from the fullness for which we all hope and pray.After a short night’s sleep—many of us burned the midnight oil filing stories after Sunday’s adventures!—we boarded the bus at our Amman hotel and headed for Zarqa. This city of about one-half million people is Jordan’s industrial center. An hour’s drive from Amman, known for inexpensive real estate, it is home to about 50 percent of Jordan’s industry. Surrounded by all of that industry, with the pollution and disarray that implies, we entered one internationally established Palestinian refugee camps: Zarqa Camp. It’s a small, poor city-within-a-city, home to 70,000 Palestinian refugees.Established in the 1940s, it still has no infrastructure, period. No plumbing, no centralized services, no sewers, no building codes. These people do not want to establish permanent residency—They want to return home to their ancestral lands, in today’s disputed territories. There’s a good background article about this at . The terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, whose legacy continues to threaten us was from here.Dirty, poor, with nearby toxic chemicals spewing,

Christopher Heffron