Anthrow Circus

Shepherding Goats with a Jordanian Bedouin

STORY AND PHOTOS BY HEATHER M. SURLS

When I saw Mohammad pick sprigs of an herb from among the rocks, I knew we’d be stopping for tea soon. We had been climbing the mountain behind his flock of goats for an hour and a half, with just two brief stops so far. When we reached a bald outcrop of rock overlooking the canyons and mountains of Jordan’s Dana Biosphere Reserve, I sank down cross-legged, tucking my skirt beneath me.

“I Was Raised Under the Trees”: Olive Harvest in Jordan

STORY BY HEATHER M. SURLS
PHOTOS BY ISABELLE BERNARD & HEATHER M. SURLS

Outside the northern Jordanian city of Ajloun, I sat cross-legged in Wael Rabadi’s olive grove, stripping ripe olives from just-pruned branches. Looking up from the work in my hands, I could see olive trees and oaks, grapevines and stone walls blanketing the hills in all directions. Eighteen hundred years ago, Rabadi’s ancestors owned this whole area, including the prominent hilltop behind me crowned by the centuries-old Ajloun Castle.

View From a Pandemic: Ramadan in Jordan in Coronavirus Times

STORY AND PHOTOS BY BATOOL Al-DULIGAN

Ramadan’s vibe in Jordan brings streets full of twinkling lights and colorful lantern decorations; tents pitched especially for nighttime gatherings; children playing in their neighborhoods and celebrating with fireworks; traffic jams; overcrowding in restaurants and bakeries before the call to maghrib prayer at sunset; and people rushing home to break the fast and enjoy the iftar before setting off again to the streets. p>

Jordanian Costumes: The Embroidered History of Palestinian and Jordanian Thobes, Part 3

ARABIC ARTICLE, ENGLISH TRANSLATION, & PHOTOS BY BATOOL AL-DULIGAN

The embroidery style in Jordan, called al-roqma, differs from that of Palestine. The stitches resemble the numbers seven and eight in the Arabic language. Most thobes in Jordan were black, and the embroidery colors were the only difference between them. For instance, people in northern governorates traditionally preferred blue, red, yellow, and white embroidery together in the same dress. Additionally, some regions in Jordan, such as the southern governorates, use beads in their embroidery instead of thread.

The Embroidered History of Palestinian and Jordanian Thobes, Part 1

ARABIC ARTICLE, ENGLISH TRANSLATION, & PHOTOS BY BATOOL AL-DULIGAN

Traditional clothing in the Arab world is tied to traditions, heritage, and identity. Every Arab country has costumes that make it unique and distinct from other countries. Traditional embroidery patterns, for example, distinguish one nation’s clothing from another, acting like regional stamps or signatures.

Trauma-Informed Art-Making: An Interview

ARTICLE BY HEATHER M. SURLS
PHOTOS BY SARAH RACINE

Over the last decade Sarah Racine has worked internationally as a trauma-informed art-maker, helping a spectrum of individuals—from victims of human trafficking to refugees—find healing from trauma, abuse, and war. Though Racine calls Lancaster, Pennsylvania, “home” in the U.S., she recently relocated to Amman, Jordan, to study Arabic and explore options for working long-term in the region. Racine sat with Anthrow Circus’s Jordan correspondent, Heather Surls, to talk about her profession and how the arts can bring healing and hope to adults and children affected by trauma.

View From a Pandemic: Amman, Jordan

STORY BY HEATHER M. SURLS


On Day 23 of quarantine I stood in front of a black iron gate, coaxing open its sliding lock. This gate was not mine, nor was the yard or the building inside. They didn’t belong to a friend either, or even to a neighbor. Essentially, I was attempting to trespass on a stranger’s property in broad daylight.

The Conundrum of Return to Syria

STORY BY HEATHER M. SURLS
ILLUSTRATIONS BY RAHAF ADNAN OUDAH

From afar, the plight of refugees can be hard to understand. Why did they leave their homeland in the first place? What is daily life like in the place in which they’ve tried to find safety? Will they return home one day? Our correspondent in Jordan takes us deep into the lives of two Syrian families who fled to neighboring Jordan and now long to return home as most of Syria regains a level of calm. Learn why the question of whether to return to Syria has no straightforward answer.