Jordanians visit Albany - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Jordanians visit Albany

August 9, 2002

A group of 17 men and women from the Middle Eastern Nation of Jordan learn the words their host families find most important for communicating in the South, "Hi y'all" a host says.Grits and peanuts are also on the list.

"Good to be with American family, know about their family, culture, and thinking," Suja Edlbi, a Muslim said.

The 17 Jordanians making up the Friendship Force, vary in age, dress, and religion. "Jordan is about 7 percent Christian, 93 percent Muslim," Hani Kayyal, a Christian said.

The country also is a key player in both the war on Terrorism, and the Middle Eastern Peace Process. Just last week Jordan's King Abdullah visited America to urge President Bush to reconsider an attack on Iraq.

"All the Arab people want peace, that's what we're all the time looking for," Malek Khoury said.

So how do Jordanians view American intervention in the process? "I think they are trying to help from both sides," Khoury said.

But perhaps this exchange program is a more realistic approach towards promoting peace, as people from very different backgrounds find common ground in Albany Georgia.

"We need to make all contacts we can with people from Middle East," Jill Sellers with the Friendship Force said. "A world of friends is a world of peace."

That the Friendship force's motto welcoming their 10th different nation in the past decade here to Albany.

The group spent a week in Raleigh North Carolina and one in Atlanta before coming to South Georgia. Before leaving for Jordan on Wednesday they'll tour Bob's Candies, Darton College, and Downtown Albany.