Ahlan Wa Sahlan

7hillspark is a social skateboarding initiative based in Amman, Jordan. 7Hills creates an open, democratic environment for everyone in the city of Amman struggling with social barriers. It aims to give all children, youth and parents a safe, public space to skateboard, socialize, grow and learn. The project organizes girls and refugee classes in their skatepark and hosts about 200 kids every week.

ahlan wa sahlan

2018 my mate, Matthias, volunteered at 7hills and got in contact with Kas Wauters, one of the lead organizers of the 7hills project. We made a plan to go to jordan with a crew of skateboarders from germany and shoot street skateboarding together with the local skateboarders. One year later, our crew explored the streets led by Kas together with the Jordan homies. Matthias and I went back a second time in the beginning of 2020 because the local jordan kids are showing immense talent and we wanted to capture some more footage. Within these trips we skated the two biggest cities Amman and Aqaba, went into the desert and got drunk with bedouins. For most of the crew it was a really unexpected journey, especially because some had never visited countries in the vicinity of Jordan. One thing is for sure, there is a lot of prejudice against countries within the middle east. What we hear or see about the middle east on media has most of a time a negative undertone; warzone, terror, oppression, etc. However, it is safe to say, that prejudice was overcome on the trip especially, because everybody we met on the journey was super welcoming (ahlan wa sahlan = welcome), hospitable, friendly and humble, which is a big part of the culture over there. On our last day of the first trip the entire crew of 8 people was invited to a family dinner of one of the Jordan skaters together with kas, the volunteers and the local skaters. Which parents would invite 15 dirty skate rats for a dinner in europe?

Besides, being one of the first european street skate videos from Amman, Jordan, the film tries to illustrate the loving and warmhearted people of Amman and their environment and immediate connection to strangers.

Video by Jonas Strecke and Oskar Ong