As CRP Photographer and Videographer, I have the great privilege of spending time with–and hearing the stories of–our community members and staff. I don’t take this for granted.

Since I can’t take you along on each photoshoot with me, I thought I’d share my top 8 photos from last year. These photos from 2023 capture a moment in time–some big, some small, but always significant. They illustrate the kindness, community, connection, and healing that goes on every day at CRP.

This photo was taken before a big soccer tournament that CRP held in December in partnership with Blossom Hill. This girl was practicing before the big game and was so focused on perfecting the skills she had learned from her coaches. It’s an impactful picture for me because it breaks many stereotypes. It not only depicts how CRP works to integrate girls and boys in joint activities, but it also shows how our programs empower girls to enroll in offerings they might not naturally think are for them.

Being in the barber classroom is always a great pleasure for me. I’m usually there before the participants arrive so I have time to chat with Fadi, CRP’s skilled instructor. Fadi has been in the community for many years–arriving from Syria as the conflict erupted–and is universally respected and well-liked. I particularly enjoy this photo because it shows the intensity of the atmosphere–when Fadi takes the scissors in his hand and teaches the participants his craft, everyone is attentive and focused.

This photo was taken in CRP’s Downtown Center in the new Hope Kitchen space thanks to Latter Day Saints Charities. Watching the chef instructor was breath-taking. The way she directed everything seemed reminiscent of a captain getting her crew to right the ship.

At the end, when the chef wasn’t looking, Fatima gave me a sign that she wanted me to take a photo of her turning the crepe in the pan–something they were instructed not to do. She did it perfectly the first time. Everyone laughed and rejoiced, including the chef, who had of course seen everything–just like a ship captain.

The gardeners: not a day goes by that I don’t see these guys. They always have something to do and new ideas to make CRP look more colorful, creative, and even more beautiful. I particularly like this shot because I captured it as I was on my way to CRP’s daily staff lunch. I stopped to snap a few photos and listen to them signing a song while they worked. When I finished, I arrived in the lunchroom to enjoy one of the best perks at CRP–a plate of warm rice and beans lovingly prepared by our staff chef, Areej.

This photo was taken as part of CRP’s Leadership in Action program in partnership with the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women. Leadership in Action is designed to empower individuals to serve their communities now and in the future. It was the first time I attended one of their meetings. The room was filled with many people I knew from various programs and community groups but had never seen together. It was a nice moment for me to look around at so many familiar faces from so many different places working towards a common goal.

This day was a special one for the children from SuperGirls–a really powerful program supported by the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives. They all came to the CRP garden on a beautiful spring day, spread out blankets, and listened to two storytellers. Normally the group meets indoors and is full of energy and kid-level excitement, but this time the atmosphere was different. When the story started it took less than two minutes and everyone was spellbound–I looked through my lens and smiled as I captured this beautiful moment of peace and serenity.

Normally the CRP offices close at 5 pm and the staff trickles out–getting in their cars, calling a taxi, or walking home for the evening. I often head out at this time as well–carpooling with colleagues who live in my area of Amman. But sometimes, I stick around…

As most of our programs occur during the daytime hours, many of the rooms in the Community Center are left empty in the evening. It is at this time that some of the men from the community head to CRP to drink tea, play dominoes, and talk about life. It’s casual and spontaneous and full of the kind of community and connection CRP is known for.

Maybe next time I stop by I will ask to play along–I just have to learn the rules.

I really love the CRP community centers in Hashemi Shamali and Downtown–there are so many spaces that make interesting backdrops for my photos. But when I took this picture, it was a special day for me because I was shooting offsite–observing a whole different side of CRP. This program, supported by the Australian Government and implemented by CRP, offers young people the opportunity to acquire health caregiving training. I was very impressed by the teamwork and professionalism of the participants who demonstrated their knowledge to us.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that donors like you make all these moments possible.

Thank you for your continued support for the people in these photos and the many people who walked through our doors in 2023.

Ante Bussman

CRP Photographer and Videographer