Mensajeros de la Paz in Jordan is led by Father Carlos Jaar. Father Carlos serves as the parish priest of the Church of Santa María, which is located within the school that has welcomed Muslim and Christian children, providing them with an admirable educational system where all coexist harmoniously. The Christian children are from refugee families who, fleeing from ISIS, mostly from Mosul, Iraq, found refuge in Jordan, which welcomed them with open arms, even though it does not allow them to work or join the national healthcare system. This is why Father Carlos is so dedicated to these families, providing them with employment in his school and offering education for their children.
“When recess came, they grabbed their sandwiches and approached us to ask who we were and why we were there."”
I travelled to Jordan accompanied by Luis Jiménez, a volunteer from Mensajeros de la Paz at the Church of San Antón, the Golden Phone service, and also in the communications department for audio-visual matters. In fact, he is the director of the charity short film “Dos Cincuenta” that we premiered just after returning from this trip to Jordan. Our purpose was to film human stories and Father Carlos in order to create a documentary later. We didn’t know what we would find, except that I was at ease with Father Carlos and his energy, humanity, and empathy.
On the first day when the school’s loudspeakers called the children to gather in the courtyard, I was amazed. Then, in silence, with smiles and concentration, they began to sing the Lord’s Prayer in Aramaic. Later, in an orderly manner unlike what we usually see in Spain, they went to their classes. First the youngest, and lastly the teenagers who seem well-prepared and confident for a future that awaits them, perhaps outside of Jordan.
When recess came, they grabbed their sandwiches and approached us to ask who we were and why we were there. All the girls surrounded me, smiling, hugging me, and asking me all sorts of questions. As for Luis, the boys surrounded him. They all appear so happy that it’s hard to realize that their situation in Amman, in this neighbourhood of Marka, is very challenging. They left their homes in Iraq, their friends, their schools, their landscapes, and memories behind… but here, in this school, they never stop smiling.
“We didn't know what we would find, except that I was at ease with Father Carlos and his energy, humanity, and empathy."”
Blessed Father Carlos and blessed is his way of understanding and educating for a future of harmony, regardless of religions, origins, positions… and all this without ever losing his smile. Luis stayed a few more days to complete our mission there, in Amman, in this school full of hope and solidarity, and this is his account:
“Welcome to Jordan.” I heard this phrase many times from so many people during the time I was there with the hope and the goal of capturing very different stories from what we know in our day-to-day lives. In Amman, I had the great fortune of meeting Father Carlos and the large family of Mensajeros de la Paz, who opened the doors of their daily lives to me, and I had the opportunity to share in the enthusiasm with which they support causes to improve the lives of so many people who don’t deserve the present they’ve been given and can’t yet improve during the toughest moments of their lives.
Located in the Marka neighbourhood, Father Carlos’s parish and school, the president of Mensajeros de la Paz in Jordan, are at the center of efforts to welcome and support refugee families from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and other countries with very harsh situations. They offer these families the opportunity to integrate into Amman. Constantly arriving from northern Iraq are people who come with the bare essentials under the threat of death if they didn’t abandon their faith. More than 10,000 Christian families left their homes and their country after receiving a letter under their door, demanding that they leave their land within a few hours or else be executed.
“In Amman, I was fortunate to meet Father Carlos and the wonderful family of Mensajeros de la Paz, who opened the doors of their daily lives to me.”
During those weeks, I was able to live and capture on camera the daily life of a vibrant school, with fantastic teachers, and children from Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Jordan living together and learning values with different religions and ideals coexisting and respecting each other. I could also see that it’s a school where, from the moment you enter, you can sense tranquillity and anticipate aspirations that will be achieved.
It’s a school that has enrolled refugee children, allowing refugee adults to work as teachers to gain a professional path in a country that still doesn’t offer them the opportunity to work. A school that supports craftsmanship and entrepreneurship, which other refugee adults need to work and survive during these tough times.
When the time came to leave the school and return to Spain, I have no words to convey the feeling I had during the farewell with these good-hearted people, teachers, and little ones who were already asking me when I would come back even though I hadn’t left yet.