On Tuesday 6th November Matti and Hiba taught their first Arabic language and culture class at the Westgate Library.
It was a chance to practise Arabic greetings and numbers, and also to learn how to make delicious Iraqi tea. Matti and Hiba were fantastic teachers, and kept everyone on their toes with ball games and bingo! It was a fun and informative introduction to Arabic language and culture and we hope to run more of these classes in 2019.
Here's a short report from one of the attendees of the 'Introduction to Eritrean Culture' evening held on 23 October 2018:
"Michael and his mentor, Goytom, gave a fascinating and informative talk about Eritrean culture. We learnt about their customs, food and music. We also had a language lesson, and Goytom wrote each of our names in Tigrinyan to take home with us. The highlight for me was sitting together at the end, listening to Eritrean music and chatting over strong coffee and snacks, as families do in Eritrea at the end of the day. I’m very much looking forward to learning more about Eritrean culture in future KAMA courses."
The evening was a great success and the obvious interest from participants to learn more about Eritrea means we are already planning future events. Thank you to the teachers and their mentors and everyone who came!
During this fantastic class, Dilber, Waed, Hiba and Lubna demonstrated how to make five Middle Eastern dishes. Dilber showed everyone how to make a beautifully presented Turkish aubergine kebab dish. Lubna taught us how to make tasty vegetarian spring rolls and a couple of participants had a go at making their own. Hiba talked us through how she’d made a colourful Iraqi biryani topped with dried fruit and nuts, which is eaten on special occasions. Finally Waed showed us how to make Syrian style Fattoush and Baba Ganoush, beautifully decorated with ‘flowers’, which she crafted from lemon peel and tomato skins. When everything was cooked and prepared, we all enjoyed a delicious lunch together, with Iraqi tea, and everyone took home a lovely booklet containing recipes from the day.*
*Thanks to Georgie for preparing the recipes and Mary for designing the booklet so beautifully!
On 9th October 2018 KAMA hosted its first workshop, 'Folksong with Feng'.
Twelve attendees gathered together in the atmospheric, multi-faith chapel at Somerville College. Some people had brought along their guitars and ukuleles to strum along. Feng began the class by talking to us about his background and explained that he is a political refugee from China.
We then started learning ‘In a Faraway Place’, an evocative Kazakh song popularised by Chinese folk song composer Wang Luobin in the 1930s. Though the melody was simple enough, the pronunciation of the lyrics proved more of a challenge… but Feng was encouraging and patient, and we were also extremely lucky to have Shirley in the group, another native speaker who had arrived in Oxford just a week before. Thank you, Shirley!
Feng’s second choice of song, ‘The Outside World’ was in a more familiar idiom to our Western ears, and we quickly learned the catchy tune and the simple chords, and were even able to add a bit of harmony, thanks to the tenors amongst us.
We rounded off the session with a final ‘performance’ of ‘In a Faraway Place’, and were reminded of the power of music to unite and move us – no matter where we’re from.
Huge thanks are due to Brian McMahon, Chapel Administrator at Somerville College, for hosting and supporting this workshop; to Tarje (KAMA mentor), who helped to bring Feng’s vision to reality; and – as ever – to Isabel*.
*This was written by Sarah, who is far too modest to thank herself! But the success of this workshop was due in no small part to her and Matt – thank you both ever so much. My role on the day only really consisted in enjoying the fruits of your organisation and expertise! ~Isabel.