Day 1 and the Crazy 88 Challenge



Jordan, 13 August 2023 – blog by Rik Dijkman, The Netherlands –

Dear reader,

Why should you read this letter? It’s a story of a day of chair games and nail paint. It’s a story of a Dutchie in Jordan. Furthermore, this will be my first and last letter that you can read. You took the time to read the 4 sentences before this, so, continuing with reading won’t be so hard. Anyway, my name is Rik. I have been in Jordan now for 3 days. Most of the time I was in downtown Amman. Strolling down rainbow street at night. Excited with what each corner can bring.

I’m writing this letter from the hotel that we’re staying in in Amman. We just came back from downtown. The day began with nervous conversations from us, the participants of Wetskills. The curiosity in new people won the fight against the nerves. We continued with a game of chair rotations. It’s too difficult to explain in words. At the end of running around, the groups were shared. I’m excited to see where the groupwork will go. We continued running around in the crazy 88 challenge. Where my group and I had to do abnormal assignments together.

In the car, I asked what my group’s perception was of Dutch people. Lemas (I’m sorry if I butchered your name), lived in the Netherlands for 2 years. She was disappointed in how the Dutch were cold. Nobody would go out of their way for a talk. We continued to talk about the representation of people from Moroccan and Turkish ethnicity in the Netherlands. We both agreed that they have a negative representation. Which is a shame as Lemas said that they’re very smart and capable. Our perspective was that most people from different ethnicities are quite segregated in the Netherlands. I have the perception that this is true in education as well. Where people go to high school or not and what they end up doing.

The Netherlands is portraited as a very inclusive country. And I think we are as well. However, we have prospered from our trading and colonialism. Our internationalism should not be confused with inclusivity. Those are two different things. We need to move towards more positive representations of non-white or, how you want to name these, ethnicities. This will go well if we focus on doing good. Lemas pointed out that there are rotten apples everywhere. Ideologies won’t save us but enslave us. Shall we rather focus on goodness? Slowly conversations of decolonization and queerness will fade. Because, as we are all human, we need to find connection and not difference. We need to accept difference though.

In the past the youth rebelled by fighting and breaking free. I hope we stop fighting. I know that this is ironic for a white Dutch man to say. Wetskills as an organization of intercultural water management can start with thinking about the representation its logo has.

Wetskills gives me a chance to increase my understanding in water management in Jordan. But most importantly, for me, we all grow more connected. Humanity is universal. Eurocentrism is not universal, but we can’t give up on universality and enchain culture. We need each other.

I love you,


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