ma'a assalama, al-Waha!
Published: September 4, 2017
Marhaban, everyone! It has been two weeks since we were last at al-Waha!
The last few days were a mishmash of celebrating, closing programs, saying goodbyes, cleaning, and packing!
But beyond that, the last few days, and perhaps even these past two weeks, we all spent some time reflecting on our experience at al-Waha.
I cannot speak for anyone else, but at al-Waha, I felt a hint of magic. This magic did not mean perfection. Of course, there was conflict, whether that was an external conflict with your roommates about how they kept talking (and loudly!) while you were trying to sleep or with your counselor because she thought you should be doing the group activity instead of going to the well, or an internal struggle of being away from home and trying to learn Arabic through immersion for the first time in your life. After all, even at Hogwarts, one of the most magical places in the universe, Harry Potter fought with his best friends Ron and Hermione, and struggled to defeat Voldemort, a seriously twisted dude who was relentless in his pursuit of immortality and a more pure magical society.
No, al-Waha is magical in the sense that it is an Arabic language immersion camp in the middle of nowhere in the Minnesotan wilderness. It is magical in the sense that people come from all over the United States and even from across the Atlantic ocean just to teach and to learn Arabic. It is magical in the sense that al-Waha has appeared every year since 2006 in place of the Norwegian camp site for exactly one month before being packed away again for the next 11 months until the next session. But most importantly, it is magical because everyone there belonged, really and truly. It was magical because when we went to visit the German or Swedish or French camps, by the end of the day, we were thinking, "I wish we could go home." It is difficult to pinpoint exactly when al-Waha became a place that we call home, but one day, suddenly, there it was.
Fortunately, although al-Waha's physical site is closed for the year, virtual al-Waha is still going strong on our blog. We will be posting about Arabic language and culture, as well as updating you all about next year's session, when to apply for a spot, scholarship information, and more! Stop by, anytime! There is also a brand new al-Waha Twitter account, which you can follow at @al_Waha_CLV .
Lastly, thank you to everyone who made al-Waha so special this year! We hope to see you again soon, inshallah!