Al-Wāḥa Blog

Thank you for visiting the blog for Al-Wāḥa, an Arabic Language Village. Subscribe by email to receive notifications of new posts directly to your inbox. 

war of the ancient civilizations!

Published: August 9, 2017

Marhaban, asdiqa’i! Today, we woke up bright and early at 7:45 AM. After getting ready, we headed to masahat assayarat (parking lot) for some stimulating morning exercises. For breakfast, we had scrambled eggs with onions, khobz (bread), blackberry jam, butter, milk and apple juice.

After cleaning our buyoot (houses) and other al-Waha spaces, we headed to our first classes of the day, where our new villagers learned basic greetings (assalamu alaikum, ma ismak? - what is your name?, kayfa halok? - how are you?). The credit villager classes continued with their curriculum, with one class learning how to write letters, and another discussing what their favorite class is and why.

a quick break from the letters for a picure!










We are taking a break from dialects this week to focus on International Day (I-day) preparations, but fear not, the Egyptian dialect is coming up next week!

After song and dance time, for lunch today, we had koshari, an Egyptian dish that is a mixture of rice, noodles, tomato sauce, lentils and onions. It is a favorite among villagers, so our plates were licked clean at lunch today! Afterwards, we headed to our buyoot (cabins) to sleep!

koshari can be kind of messy!










During free time today, some of our villagers took and passed their swim test!

some villagers upside down!!!










During the arts activity period today, one group went to Model UN to prepare for Global Summit at I-day, while the other two went to learn how to do calligraphy or make candles.

this year's Global Summit topic: terrorism










calligraphy fun!










the beginnings of a candle!










Then, for the sports activities period, we headed to the soccer field for a soccer game! It looks like we will have an incredible team for the World Cup at I-day, y’all!

the race for the soccer ball!










go, go, go, allez, allez, allez!










al-Waha overflowing with skill this year!










on the sidelines, watching the soccer game










Today, we started a new musalsal (a drama, performed here at al-Waha by some of our counselors), called “layli taweel,” or “My Night is Long.” We were introduced to a handsome young man named Waseem, who is interested in a girl named Assma. Unfortunately, Assma’s brother had died only last week and she is heartbroken over him. She is also just not interested! But Waseem thinks to himself, if Assma loves a man this much when he is dead, then how much will she love a man who is alive?!

a persistant suitor










Then we meet a suspicious character named Hashim, who is also interested in Assma, not because he thinks she is kind and beautiful, like Waseem, but because he thinks she is rich. He thinks to himself that he will woo her, marry her, take her money and then kill her! Hashim also admits that the person he loves most in this world is himself.

Hashim, the schemer










In an entirely different location, Sameera and her brother Amin, are in a boat on the Red Sea. A storm occurs, and Sameera and Amin are separated. Sameera winds up on a shore at an undisclosed location. Not only does she not know where her brother is, but she also has no idea where she herself is! Fortunately, a kind but weird character finds her there, and offers her a job. However, the employer, who is actually Waseem, only wishes to hire male employees, and so Sameera decides to dress like a man, and becomes Sameer, rather than Sameera.

the incoming storm has Sameera and Amin apprehensive










a complete transformation!










What happens next? Tune in tomorrow!

For dinner, an incredible chicken dish, hummus and tabbouleh (a salad, containing bulgur and parsley, from the Levant region)!

a delicious chicken, tomato, and almonds dish!










tasty chickpeas




















And here was tonight’s meal presentation, by Rapunzel, the wicked witch, et co., for your viewing pleasure:


We had a really cool evening program today! The theme was ancient civilizations of the Middle East, and the goal of the simulation was to highlight some of the incredible contributions of these ancient civilizations to modern life. For example, the Babylonians created the first irrigation system, the Sumerians, the first writing system, and the ancient Egyptians, paper and mummification. Other ancient civilizations that were presented were the Assyrians and the Phoenicians. It was particularly important to have this discussion with our villagers, because it is easy to dismiss the Middle East these days as a place entrenched in conflict, rather than to think of it as a huge contributor to our current way of life.

In the simulation, first, the Babylonians conquered the Sumerians in a tug-of-war game at the naadi (gym).

aaaaaaaaaand start!










Soon after, the Assyrians marched up to the naadi to conquer the Babylonians.

the Assyrians approach!










During this time, the Phoenicians and the ancient Egyptians were playing team-building exercises down at the beach. This is because the Phoenicians were known to have excellent trade relations with the ancient Egyptians.

team-building with a friendly competition










This is where the simulation departed from history, ladies and gentlemen. After conquering the Babylonians, the Assyrians marched down to the beach to fight the Egyptian-Phoenician team in a game of trash ball. In this game, each team received some crumpled up paper (trash balls), and the aim of the game was to throw as many trash balls as possible over to the other side. The team with the least number of trash balls wins the game. In this game, the Assyrians won the game of trash ball! Mabrook, Assyrians!

a brief, but decisive war!










Afterward, we sat by the bonfire, and sang songs. Here is the good night song in rap form by some of our credit villagers:


 We also gave the villagers the chance to thank each other during this time, to end the day on a happy and grateful note! And, that was a wrap for the day!

Ancient civilizations night album:

ancient civilizations night

More photos