Ghiras al-Nahda

It has been a super busy month since getting back from Jordan, and I’m in the final crunch time of finishing my MA dissertation. Lots of time spent at the library!

Senate House Library

I’m looking at the rise of Syrian NGOs in local communities as humanitarian service providers, especially given the lack of access that international NGOs have in different areas of Syria – in particular opposition held areas or areas under regime siege. I was going to look at a number of different organizations, and maybe do a cross-comparison of them, but I’ve decided to focus on one – Ghiras al-Nahda, which operates in Damascus and the countryside, including the Eastern Ghouta.

In a tragic sense of necessity is the mother of all invention/innovation, Ghiras al-Nahda is working on a campaign for the people of besieged Eastern Ghouta to grow their own mushrooms, which is a viable and nutritious food source in an area where food is scarce and has to be smuggled in or grown.

They have a fundraiser on the platform CanDo, which is a really interesting humanitarian fundraising initiative, that sort of circumvents traditional funding and donor streams.

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Jordan!

I got back from Jordan the other day, and I’ve finally caught up on some sleep and some laundry, and now I have time to tell you all about it, and to share some pictures!

  • Day 1:
    • We spent the day in Amman, going to the Citadel, walking around the downtown area (and ate delicious knafeh!).
Amman Citadel
Knafeh
  • Day 2:
    • We went to the British Embassy to learn about what British civil servants do, and then we went to National Art Gallery and had a lovely view of the King Abdullah I Mosque from the Jungle Fever Cafe (I spent a lot of the evenings after dinner back at the cafe trying to work on my MA dissertation!).
King Abdullah I Mosque view from Jungle Fever Cafe
  • Day 3:
    • We went to the Dead Sea and spent the day floating effortlessly in the salty water!
Dead Sea
  • Day 4:
    • We spent the day in Jerash at Gaza Refugee Camp with a local organization called Basmatik Hatallim, who do children’s programs for some of the children in the camp. Then the organizers took us for a picnic type lunch in Ajloun Forest.
Ajloun Forest Reserve
  • Day 5:
    • We spent the day meeting with the Regional Team at the UNICEF Regional Office in Amman, which was incredibly interesting. We then went to the Middle East University, to meet some other students and be taken on a tour of the university. We did some other activities with these students over the next few days, so it was great getting to meet them.
UNICEF Regional Office, Amman
Middle East University
  • Day 6:
    • We spent the day with the other students from MEU at Madrasti Summer Camp just north of Amman in the Marka area.
    • Later in the evening some of us met up with the students from MEU to play some football – it had to be late in the evening so it was finally cool enough to play! This was an absolute blast – football is such a universal language.
Football in Amman
  • Day 7:
    • On this day we drove up to Azraq to go to the Azraq Wetland Reserve. It was really interesting learning about the nature conservation efforts that they are doing in this wetland, but it was SO hot! Probably the hottest day in Jordan for our whole trip, and for most of the day we were directly under the sun. Worth it though.
Azraq Wetland Reserve
Azraq Wetland Reserve
  • Day 8:
    • We spent the day with some beneficiaries of the Al-Aman Fund, where we taught some workshops on CVs and interview skills. And then we had our farewell formal dinner at the Grand Millennium Hotel with the partners of our trip – and I even gave a little speech!
Formal Dinner at Grand Millennium Hotel
SOS Children’s Village, Irbid

 

And that was it! The next day it was up early in the morning and off to the airport. I feel so lucky to have had this opportunity to go to Jordan, and to have seen so much of the country. It’s definitely given me the confidence to travel there again (which I will hopefully do soon!), and I’ve learned so much more about Jordan than just it’s tourist attractions. All the people we met were lovely as well!

Jordan Trip Details

We had our orientation for the Jordan trip the other day – I am SO excited! The other students going on the trip all seems nice – it looks like a good mix of undergrads and postgrads, and I’m hoping we’ll all get on well.

The trip is the Al Sadi Changing Lives Program, which works to expose UK university students to Jordanian and Middle Eastern culture. Our itinerary is still being finalized, but it looks like we’ll be doing some cultural things as well as some volunteering type things. We’ll be going to the Dead Sea, as well as the Citadel in Amman, and then doing some volunteering with children at Gaza Refugee Camp, and meeting the UNICEF Regional Team.

(Unfortunately, we won’t be able to make it to Petra, since it’s quite a long trek from Amman and we have lots of other things planned. Definitely a bit sad about that, since Petra has been on my list of places to see for forever, BUT it just gives me a good reason to go back to Jordan one day.)

I’m a bit nervous about what to expect, but I’m also beyond excited….now to do some shopping to make sure I have some appropriate clothes (it’s going to be HOT!) and to get some Jordanian dinar. Wish me luck!

 

Going to Jordan!

Super exciting news to share!! Back in June, I applied to participate in an exchange program with the London Middle East Institute to go to Jordan for 10 days next month….and I just found out yesterday that I was accepted!

As kind of a funny story, I applied really last minute, and completely forgot to tell my mom about it – until yesterday (oops!). She’s totally on board though, and it sounds like a really cool opportunity.

There will be an orientation meeting in a couple weeks where I’ll get more information, but I’m absolutely so excited. I’ve been interested in and studying the Middle East for so long now, and I finally get to actually go there!!

 

 

Tania Saleh/Cairokee Concert

So yesterday was Canada Day (woot woot!), and I spent it enjoying the festivities in Trafalgar Square – iced caps and timbits and poutine and a sea of red and white!

BUT, I also was able to spend the evening at an amazing concert at the Barbican to see Taniah Saleh, a contemporary alternative Lebanese singer/songwriter/visual artist, and Cairokee, an Egyptian rock band.

I’m still getting into Arabic music, so I wasn’t familiar with these artists until I went to the event last night, but it was absolutely spectacular! I highly recommend checking out their websites and youtube videos and giving them a listen. (I’m absolutely terrible at taking pictures/videos when I’m at these things, otherwise I would have shared my own!)

Any other artists like these to recommend?

Arabic Vocab – Directions

Here’s the next scenario – At a Restaurant. (With more food vocab! There’s definitely a theme here)

At a Restaurant

ENGLISH ARABIC SINGULAR ARABIC PLURAL MASCULINE ARABIC PLURAL FEMININE
restaurant

المطعم

menu

 قائمة الطعام

please

 من فضلك

I am hungry

انا جوعان

 foods

مأكولات

Oriental

شرقية

European

أوربية

I am thirsty

 انا عطشان

beer

 بيرة

beer without alcohol

بيرة بدون كحول

alcohol

الكحول

forbidden

ممنوع

drink

 أشرب

juice

 عصير

water

 ماء

Pepsi

 بيبسي

food

الاكلات

very spicy food

 أكلات حارّة جدّاً

the meal

 الوجبة

rice

 الرز

dessert

 الحلوى

meat

 لحم

chicken

 لحم الدجاج

vegetable

 الخضراوات

salad

 سلطة

how about

 كيف بالنسبة

appetizers

المقبلات

soup

 الشوربة

idea

 فكرة

different

 مختلفة

fish

 سمك

mushroom

 فطر

olive

 زيتون

fruits

 فواكة

almonds

 لوز

walnuts

 جوز

eggplant

 باذنجان

radish

 فجل

beans

 فول

take

 أخذ

tea

 شاء

coffee

 قهوة

ice cream

 الأيس كريم

This is the last scenario I have to prepare before my oral exam. Now it’s on to reviewing the mountains of grammar, and reviewing other vocab lists, to get me ready for the written exam. Wish me luck!

Arabic Vocab – Shopping at the Market

Here’s the next scenario – shopping at the market (more food vocab!)

Shopping at the Market

ENGLISH ARABIC SINGULAR ARABIC PLURAL MASCULINE ARABIC PLURAL FEMININE
grocer

البقال

sometimes

 أحياناً

people

 الناس

cars

السيارات

 stores

المحلات

street

الشارع

among them

بينها

open

 مفتوح

the things

الاشياء

necessary

الضرورية

for life

للحياة

for daily life

للحياة اليومية

foods

المأكولات

drinks

المشروبات

other

 أُخرى

orange juice

 عصير برتقال

flour

 دقيق

lentils

عدس

butter

زبدة

cheese

جبنة

salt

منح

black pepper

فلفل اسود

rice

أرز

chicken

دجاج

fish

سمك

meat (i.e. beef)

لحم بقر

fruit

فواكة

apple

تفاح

banana

موز

grape

عنب

olives

زينون

lemon

ليمون

watermelon

بطيخ

peach / plum

خوخ

apricot

مشمش

vegetables

خضراوات

onions

بصل

garlic

ثوم

cucumber

خيار

potatoes

بطاطس

tomatoes

طماطم

beans

فول

cup

فنجانا

Verbs

ENGLISH ARABIC VERB: PAST TENSE ARABIC VERB: PRESENT TENSE
to look

تظر

to buy

 اشترى

to come / enter

دخل