January Field Notes From Helena


  • Classes at the Olive Tree have resumed with strict COVID prevention precautions in place.
  • Class size and attendance are monitored along with overall building flow and limited capacity in order to safely operate. CDC and the Jordanian Ministry of Health guidelines/laws are followed.
  • A sign-in sheet was implemented to maintain a way to track COVID and safeguard against the spread at the center.
  • Piano and art classes continued with an emphasis on Christmas music and decorations.
  • The Olive Tree Center continued to serve as a hub for clothing and toy distribution.
  • The new kitchen enabled refugees to make Christmas cookies for vulnerable community members along with Syrian Muslim refugees. This was part of the “love in action” campaign.
  • For the first time at the Olive Tree Center, Iraqi Christian refugees welcomed members of the Syrian refugee community into the center to receive this exchange. This was a very successful and exciting community outreach initiative and fostered goodwill among the larger Madaba community that have helped ease community divisions.
  • The Olive Tree Center also hosted a special Christmas gathering for the Iraqi refugees, celebrated the week before Christmas as Christmas fell on a “lockdown” day in Jordan. Refugees gathered on the rooftop in small, socially distanced groups throughout the day.  Food was provided and festivities were held, including Christmas carols and music performed by Olive Tree Center music students! This was very uplifting for the refugee community to participate.

Garden Project
The garden at the Olive Tree Center continues to flourish and provide fresh produce to refugee families. Azad, the head gardener, has been teaching the youth gardening skills as a way to grow involvement in the community

Mask Making Project
Led by refugee sisters, Leka and Ashwak, in Madaba, the Mask making project continues to thrive and provide vital support to the refugee communities.


Nazarene Church, Pastor Zakio, Via the Nazarene Church partnership
American FRRME continues to support the Youth Empowerment and Trauma healing Center along with refugee food package assistance. Though there have been adjustments to the Youth Empowerment and Trauma healing Center English, IT, woodworking, sewing/knitting classes still continue with strict adherence to small class size attendance. Woodworking Initiative: Pastor Zaki has offered to help American FRRME to establish a woodworking workshop at the Olive Tree Center.

Syrian Orthodox Church, Father Benjamin
American FRRME continues to support the Iraqi refugees in this community through food packages, medical assistance, rent and immigration support, as well as regular home visits conducted while mitigating risk exposure to COVID-19. In December, relief efforts continued with Father Benjamin providing additional welfare checks, food, and medical support around Christmas. The next OTC will be located in Hashem Al Shamalior Ashraffiya. The Center will be instrumental in providing the refugees with empowerment, education, and mental health support opportunities.

Assemblies of God Church, Madaba, Pastor Yoo
American FRRME provided clothing coupons to the refugee community in Madaba for Christmas. This was hugely appreciated and is the only time in the year they receive the ability to purchase new clothing for their families. Led by Pastor Yoo and supported by American FRRME, the Full Gospel Church led a special youth program for Christmas. American FRRME continues to support the refugee community in Madaba and the 120 families who attend the Full Gospel Church with food coupons, transportation to church, youth group support, mask making, garden projects, support groups, and “empowerment” projects.
Greek Catholic Church, Fuheis, Father Bolis
American FRRME continues to support the partnership at the Greek Catholic Church through the food coupon program and further development opportunities Recently, 250 refugee families received food coupons to local grocery stores


  • Numbers continue to rise and Jordan, like the rest of the world, is experiencing a surge in numbers. Friday lockdowns and Internet restrictions have continued as a result.
  • Travel is still extremely difficult but has improved slightly: there is a mandatory one-week quarantine imposed, instead of the previous mandatory two-week quarantine, to reenter the country.
  • Despite the many challenges, American FRRME has continued to operate and provide much-needed relief, support, empowerment opportunities, and hope throughout these intense and difficult times.