Sword fights, Italian nights, and Dancing Under the Disco Lights!
Published: July 29, 2017
Sabah il-khair! Today for breakfast, we had egg bake with potatoes and onions, another hearty, filling meal! Today’s meal presentation was a Family Feud skit, where contestants guessed what foods we would be having today.
After cleaning our village and living spaces, we headed to our mughamarat (classes). One class went down to the beach with a towel and a bar of soap to learn about things that we do in the morning. Some of the vocab words were towel (manshafa), soap (saboon), shampoo (shamboo), teeth (asnan) and body (jism). From those five words, we learned how to say phrases like “I brush my teeth,” “I wash my hair with shampoo” and “I wash my body with soap.” Villagers were surprised to learn that you can use the same word “aghsil” for washing and brushing. Another exciting thing to note is that in Arabic, nouns and verbs related to those nouns often have the same root. For example, if you wanted to say, “I am drying off with a towel,” you would say, “Unashif jismee bil manshafa.” This makes it easy to guess or remember certain words if you know words related to them.
After class, we held another dialect session. Today’s session was on the Moroccan dialect, and through this session, we also learned a lot about Arab hospitality. Basically, it is almost impossible to go to an Arab’s house and leave without eating something! In Morocco, for the people you love, you make ksksoo wa hoot, or couscous with fish (ksksoo can also be made with chicken or beef). Hoot in fus-ha (standard Arabic) actually means whale, but it is used in the Moroccan dialect to mean fish. Then we simulated a typical dialogue you would have when you go to visit someone, by having four villagers act as hosts, sitting on a sijjada (carpet) with a tanjeen (a ceramic pot with a pointy lid) in front of them, since many Arabs actually eat while sitting on the floor rather than on chairs at a formal dining table.
For the sports and activities period, we began a new rotation. The new activities include belly-dancing, hiking, Islamic art, and volleyball. On the hiking trail, we learned the words for forest (ghaba), shade (thil), sun (shams), bridge (jisr), on top of (fawq), below (taht) and more.
In our musalsal, we left off with Salsabeel was chasing after the thief, who had quickly disguised himself as a woman when Zafar and Salsabeel came knocking at his door. In the next episode, we open on Salsabeel’s father sitting on his mattress counting his many dinars. Salsabeel comes knocking, and he quickly hides the money beneath his mattress. Salsabeel cries, telling her father that all of her money is gone and that the fish that she bought was stolen. As soon as he hears this, he quickly says that he has no money and that he is poor. Salsabeel asks for forty dinars for fish and he says no. Then she asks for thirty dinars for meat, and he says no, then twenty dinars, and so on, but her father refuses to give her a single cent. Discouraged, Salsabeel leaves. Meanwhile, the thief, disguised as a woman, meets Zafar at the market. Zafar is interested in this strange woman and asks “her” to marry him, but the thief, thinking that Zafar is rich, since he is handsome and is dressed so nicely, asks him for gold before agreeing to the marriage. As soon as the thief receives the gold, he asks for new clothes. Zafar brings the thief new clothes. But then, the thief asks for fish! As soon as he hears this new request, alarm bells ring for Zafar, and he uncovers the thief’s disguise.
In the final episode, we see Salsabeel’s father sitting on his mattress, his money still hidden underneath it, with a tanjeen (the ceramic pot with the pointy lid!) in front of it. The thief, passing by, notices the fishy smell coming from the tanjeen, and knocks on the door of Salsabeel’s father’s house. When Salsabeel’s father hears the knock, he quickly eats from the tanjeen because he hates to share. Unfortunately, he eats so quickly, that he chokes on the food and dies. The thief comes in, sees that Salsabeel’s father is dead, grabs the tanjeen, and quickly leaves to avoid being accused of the crime. Salsabeel comes in afterward, and discovers that her father is dead. She is devastated, however, she also inherits her father’s money and becomes very rich (because money definitely helps)! When we next see her, she is wearing much grander clothing, and is on her way to a fancy restaurant. The restaurant is so fancy that she even meets a famous singer called Babylone. Babylone and Salsabeel hit it off and decide to go for a walk after eating. When they leave, they see the thief sitting on the corner outside the restaurant and begging for money. Salsabeel, enraged, grabs a sword and goes running toward the thief. He also grabs his weapon, and a sword fight ensues. Salsabeel and the thief fight all the way to the dock. Suddenly, Salsabeel sees an opening, and knocks the thief off the dock. Finally, she is victorious!
And today’s evening program was restaurant night at Mamma Italia (our Italian-ized dining hall)! The villagers learned how to reserve a table for themselves, as well as how to order food. Afterward, we moved the dining tables to make room for the dance floor, lit the room up with a disco effect and danced the night away to Arabic songs like Saad Lamjarred’s “Enta M3alem” and Amr Diab’s “Nour El Ein”.