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qahwa, dessert, and discussion at Sjolunden!

Published: August 18, 2017

Ahlan wa sahlan! Today with the day campers, we worked on writing our Arabic alphabet, and through a finger-painting arts activity, also reviewed our colors!

Afterward, we made hummus from scratch (and ate it later in the day while we watched The Little Mermaid in Arabic). If you are curious, we made the hummus from chickpeas, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, tahini, and salt, although in what quantities, who knows?!

excited to make the hummus, excited to eat it too!










Later, we had another fun soccer game!

racing to get to the ball!










We also spent some time learning some new songs and dances!

learning a new dance!










After we said goodbye to the day campers, we went to our arts activities period, followed by our sports activities period. During the sports activities period, we went to the shati’ (beach), where we played volleyball, swam, or dug holes in the wet sand!

digging holes in wet sand!










Then, it was time for dinner, and we had lamb, tomato salad and baba ghanoush, a dish made from eggplants. We had an interesting skit, wherein there were two fur creatures, who scared people into yelling out food names.

the most frightful fur creatures you ever saw!










After dinner, we got ready to cross the friendship bridge over to the Swedish camp Sjolunden! The first thing we did when we arrived at Sjolunden was to dance the International Day song “Assalamu Alaikum,” by Faizal Tahir. Following that, we divided both camp’s villagers into 12 groups, then headed into the cafeteria area for presentations by some of our counselors.

in the Swedish camp's cafeteria!










From the Sjolunden side, we learned some Swedish history by watching a skit about a king called Carl who was defeated in a war against Russia and was forced to seek refuge in Istanbul, where he tasted many new foods, including delicious coffee and meatballs. He eventually brought these foods over to Sweden, and they have been part of everyday life for the Swedes ever since!

ahoy, a sword fight!










From the al-Waha side, we learned some stories about what qahwa (coffee) represents to different countries in the Middle East. For example, coffee was discovered in Yemen after a farmer noticed that his sheep had much more energy after consuming a specific plant, which turned out to produce coffee beans. Meanwhile in Istanbul, for a man to be accepted as a spouse, it is traditional that he drink a full cup of coffee full of salt. In Saudi Arabia, if you no longer want to drink coffee, you must shake your cup three times to signal that, or else risk drinking coffee all through the night.

a savvy presentation










The al-Waha crew also performed a ridiculous skit about a man who goes to ask for a woman’s hand in marriage only to change his mind after she serves the coffee incorrectly.

cold-blooded rejection










Then, we held discussions in each of the 12 groups we split up into earlier and ate some delicious desserts from both sides.

a productive discussion










baklava, caramel buns, chocolate cake, and smiles!










delicious Lebanese almond cookies!










Our final activity at Sjolunden was a song exchange. Here is “Man Yubhir Bidoon Reeh?” or “Who Sails Without a Breeze?” performed by both al-Waha and Sjolunden in two different languages and in two rounds (!!!):

After walking back to al-Waha, we had cabin council, and then headed straight to bed!

Swedish-Arabic Exchange Night