Matt Kauffman in Jordan

Remember to enjoy the little things

leave a comment »

The other day, Melissa and I realized that we needed to talk to someone at the United Nations Refugee Agency. We are working on a story about the influx of refugees from Syria, and after doing a bit of reading, we saw that a certain UN agency representative was quoted several times in various news articles, including one in the New York Times.

After jamming in my “I * Jordan” USB internet drive (which, by the way, is super bad ass looking and apparently the only consistently reliable source to the web in this country), I found that the UN Refugee Agency’s offices are based right here in Amman.

The net, even when you’re riding in the back of an Amman taxi-cum-rally-car zipping through traffic

So, destination scribbled in Arabic on a spare piece of notebook paper, we quit SIT and jumped in a cab for the UN offices.

Contacts there? Zero.

Press credentials? Not a one.

Plan for what we were going to do once we got there? Sh’yeeaa and monkeys might fly out of my butt.

Nonetheless, we were determined. So when our cabbie rolled up to an unassuming (save for the desperate-looking people lingering outside) four-story building in a nice, newly-developed part of town, we approached the first line of security with an air of confidence.

“Yes? Can I help you?” said a diminutive African man in a UN security outfit.

“Hi, yea so we uhhh….” I started

“..Have a meeting with … Andrew…. Andrew….,” continued Melissa.

“Andrew Harper?” asked the pocket-patrolman.

“Yesss. Andrew Harper!” we both said.

What follows is a guaranteed plan (warning: not guaranteed) to get to your source at the UN:

1. Once the first guard believes you have a meeting, he will then inform the next guard, the one at the first door, to unlock it and let you pass.

2. Be sure to bypass the ID station, where you are asked to show some sort of media credential. Instead, just avoid this temporary trailer by going to the right and walking through the front door.

3. Inform security outside the elevator you have a meeting with your source. He will then tell you which floor his office is on.

4. When the elevator doors clatter open at your floor (ours was the third), greet the secretary, let her know you do not, in fact, have a meeting with your person (in our case, Mr. Harper), but that you’d like to set one up.

5. Fast forward to the next day. Now that you actually have a meeting, follow the real rules. Have turkish coffee at the UN’s rooftop cafe with your interview subject. Get to work.


Written by kauffmant

23/05/2012 at 9:49 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: