In the two cold December weeks before my father died, he sent me to the department store about a dozen times to buy duvets.
Not any sort of duvet either. He was very specific. Soft and snuggly tog 13.5, the warmest kind available.
I drove back and forth, buying the department’s store entire supply, while my father coordinated with me on the phone, as he lay dying at the King Hussein Cancer Center.
“Get five king-sized duvets for my nephews, the sons of my sister Em El-Abed,” he would say. “The winter is long and cold, and it will keep them and their wives warm. Get one for my sister Salwa, and one for my sister Hanan. Drop off a couple at my friend Nidal's house, and three at your cousin’s place.”
It went on and on. And I would go, get the duvets, and drop them off to the homes of my father’s loved ones. I’d go back home, get more money, buy more duvets, and drop them off too.
Then my father died on the 10th of January, 2009. It was a cold, rainy winter, but all his loved ones slept warm, protected by blankets of my father's love.
Warmth is a gift that most people in developed economies take for granted. In Jordan, a small and poor country stuck between a rock and three awful places, we have hundreds of thousands of refugees in makeshift housing, all about to brave the cold, wet, and sometimes-snowy Jordanian winters. There are many ways you can help buy blankets to keep these refugees warm, like donating through UNHCR.
Give the gift of warmth this winter.
Also, come visit Jordan. It's a beautiful and safe country, and our tourism industry (a huge contributor to our already-crappy GDP) has been strongly affected by the events in the region. Google Wadi Rum, Wadi Mujib, Petra, Jerash, Um Qays, and Hamamat Maen. If you have any questions or would like suggestions about visiting, feel free to email me at [email protected]