Reflections from Za’atari Camp Parts 2 and 3

by tuftsigl
Jan 13

Written by Student Researcher Umar Shareef, EPIIC 2014


I posted my first reflection from Za'atari Refugee Camp in Jordan here.


Reflection 2: The first day at the camp, I was told that I would not be able to ask any questions about religion. My plan all along was to analyze the relationship between change in religious actions, religious institutions, and spirituality. The first two were eliminated to my understanding yet despair. I knew that even if I was allowed to talk about religion, the responses would not have been entirely truthful. Religion in this part of the world is personal. Asking whether religion has changed (became stronger / weaker) would require an intimate and long-lasting relationship with the participants. For now, I must take a secular approach. It will be interesting to hear how participants will define spirituality void from religion.



Reflection 3: Many of the participants defined spirituality as psychology. As much as psychology is a part of spirituality, it does not communicate the holistic connectivity felt by the emotional self through the heart. Nevertheless, the data gathered is rich with narratives. An emerging theme is the centrality of relationships in keeping the participants going. All in all, the research was successful. At the end of the day, I built personal relations with the refugees who have become close to my heart; whenever I go through a struggle, I think of their situation and immediately gain strength to continue.


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