Monday, June 7, 2010

What am I doing in Jordan?

So, most of you who read my blog are probably wondering the exact same thing at this moment: "What exactly does James do in Jordan? I mean, he talks about snorkeling, riding camels, and having a hole as a toilet, but I thought he was on an internship. So where is the interning and the actual work that he does?" Well ladies and gentleman, that questioned is being addressed in this blog post.

In Jordan, or more specifically in the Badia, I am the regional IT expert, consultant, and web designer. At this point, you might be thinking: "Huh? That doesn't jive with the image I have of James. When I think of James, I think of a runner. Or loving brother, son, and friend. Or connessieur of French cheeses. Or runner-up to the 1999 McVay Elementary Spelling Bee. But not IT expert." And you would be correct in this way of thinking. Be that as it may, most of the work that I have done here has been with computer support and building websites. And before you let your disbelief get the better of you, let's consider my credentials:

  1. I passed the Excel class at BYU.
  2. I had my own website for about three days when I was 12.
  3. My dad is a computer engineer.
  4. I spent countless hours trying to make Age of Mythology work on my parent's computer.
  5. No one else in the Badia has 1-4 (this is my most important credential).
So, I have been creating websites in English and Arabic. I mean, it's nothing big since I don't know HTML or any programming languages, so I have been using free web hosting providers and website templates. But the people out here seem to love it. Someone asked me today to make them a website for their organization just as I was finishing up the one for the Badia Development Cooperation Society, the organization that I work for out here. Check out or The latter is the Arabic version of the English site. And oh my goodness, have you ever tried creating a website in Arabic? First off, I hardly speak the language. Second off, all the templates are made for English script. Third off (third off sounds kinda wierd, doesn't it?), the computer I am using has dialup internet and has all the power of a horse and buggy.

But on the whole, they appreciate my work, and I've enjoyed doing it. It's confirmed to me that if I want an international career, simply knowing the language and culture isn't sufficient. That's not to say that cultural and linguistic skills aren't essential, but just that coupled with a technical skill, it can be so much more effective than one of the other along. You gotta bring something to the table, some tangible skill you can use to improve the life of others. Like medecine. Or finance. Or accounting. Or IT skills.


  1. "Amen."

    -Robert Bonn, Badia Regional Medical Supply Consultant/ English Language Specialist/ Freelance Large Group Travel Agent

  2. Crap dude, I don't have any other skills other than language and culture. I have no hope for the future...

  3. How did you know my image of you was that of the runner-up to the 1999 McVay Elementary Spelling Bee? You're too good.

    Miss you miss you miss you.

  4. some of us in the office were wondering what you actually do out there in the sticks. Haha i think your influence is greater than you think. i hope to come out soon and see your work up close.