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Ma Salaama 2020. Ahlan wa Sahlan 2021!

Published: December 31, 2020

Ma Salaama 2020. Ahlan Wa Sahlan 2021!

What a year. What an unusual, difficult, and surprising year. I won’t pretend it wasn't a hard year. One of the silver linings of 2020, however, was Al-Waha.

In the spring, no one was sure how long CoVid-19 was going to last, or if students would even return to school in-person after spring break. It was decided early on that Al-Waha would go entirely virtual, and for the sake of everyone’s health I am glad that that is what we did. In fact, one of the cool things about going virtual was that it became possible for new villagers and counselors to join Al-Waha, especially those who might have otherwise not been able to come to Minnesota. 

During the summer, Al-Waha is what I woke up for and what helped me remember which days were weekends and which were week days. There were people to see and learn and laugh via videoconference, which made staying at home all the time more exciting. Online learning was still relatively new at this point, so it took a little while for us to get the hang of Zoom. We figured it out, of course! Every morning, we took a tour of a different part of the Arabic-speaking world, and every afternoon we had a  مقهى (moqha), our Arabic coffee break where we had themed discussions or played games. It was so cool to get to visit the hometowns of counselors in places like Palestine, Armenia, and Iraq! Aside from CoVid-19, one scary thing that happened this summer was the explosion at the port in Beirut, Lebanon. الحمد الله (Al-Hamdulillah) no one from Al-Waha lost friends or family members from the explosion. I am grateful that we had Virtual Al-Waha to get us through the summer. 

People sitting at a huge café in Egypt, smoking shisha, drinking coffee, and chatting.
Moqha Time!
A screenshot of some of the counselors of Virtual Al-Waha from the summer.
Some of our summer counseling staff!
Ustaadha Aya shows an image of the Aleppo Souq in Yerevan, Armenia.
Traveling vicariously to the Aleppo Souq in Yerevan, Armenia with Ustaaza Aya.

Most recently, the fall session of Club Al-Waha was the thing that I looked forward to every Wednesday. By this time, most of us had gotten used to the idea of online learning, and we were leaving the house a little more often than before. Still, CoVid-19 was spreading – even I got it, though not a bad case, الحمد الله  (Al-Hamdulillah)! Thankfully my sense of taste and smell returned by the time we had our Club Al-Waha baking lesson.

We created geometric designs from الفن الاسلامي…

Villagers and counselors showing their geometric art on pieces of paper. The designs are at various stages of completion.
Our villagers' art.

Learned about Arab celebrities who live outside the Middle East...

Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib. Next to her profile is a Palestinian flag.
Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib.

Worked on الخاط العربي...

A collage of Arabic calligraphy and screenshots of villagers making the calligraphy.
Drawing the letters.

Learned an أغنية جديدة…

Vocabulary from the lyrics to the song Ahle Eyyoun. The words zowl (darling), ramoush (eyelashes), riida (love), naad (counting), sarahna (we will travel), and dunia (world).
Ahle Eyyoun with Nidjma!

Made some Iraqi كليجة…

A screenshot of villagers in various stages of rolling out their cookie dough, that they will fill with date paste.
Everyone loves making cookies!

Discussed the كاس العالم…

A footballer kicking a soccer ball. Next to that is a clipart image of a rocket. The word rocket in Arabic is above them.
The way this footballer shoots the ball is a lot like a saroukh صاروخ, a rocket!

And practiced our عربي!

I can’t wait to learn more Arabic and visit new Arabic-speaking places with Club Al-Waha in the spring! Villagers ages 10-18 with any level of Arabic are welcome to attend.

Click here to find out more about Club Al-Waha, financial aid, and registration for our spring session.

Finally, it’s 2021! Here are some expressions that you can say to ring in the new year, and bid good riddance to 2020!

1. كل سنة و أنت بخير

(Kul sennat wa anta (m)/anti (f) bikhayr)
May you be well every new year!

2. عام سعيد

(Aam saïd)
Happy New Year!

These two are the most common expressions to wish someone Happy New Year. If you are particularly eager to say goodbye to 2020, here are some other things you could say!

3. عمرك ما ترجمعي يا سنة ألفين و عشرين 

(Umrik maa tarjamaaii ya sennat alifayn wa ashreen)
I hope you never return, 2020! / I hope there is never another 2020!

4. اللّه لا يردك يا سنة ألفين و عشرين

(Allah laa yuruduki ya sennat alifayn wa ashreen)
May God never bring you back, oh year 2020!

5. تنذكر و لا تنعاد هذه السنة

(Tanzakir wa laa tanaad hathihi as-senna)
May we remember but not repeat this year.

6. إن شاء اللّه تكون سنة بركة

(Inshallah takuun sennat baraka)
Hopefully/God willing this will be a year of blessings.