Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Mustanji Family Dinner

Jerid and I took a trip to Dead sea about two weeks ago with our friends Matt and Melody. They are the other married couple that is here with BYU doing the same internship. While swimming in the Dead Sea (I'll have to tell the story of that experience another time) we met this family that was infatuated with talking to us and feeding us their home grown VaGoose (similar to a cucumber). The didn't speak an ounce of english but they managed to get our phone numbers so to invite us to their house for dinner. We didn't expect the call the next day but we were happy to meet them for some great Jordanian hospitality.

Matt and Melody weren't able to come out with us so we invited our friend Caleb to join us. We met the Father of the family as well as his brother (the only one with a car) at the seventh circle. Their house ended up being about 45-50 minutes outside of Amman in a little farming village. When we pulled up I knew we were in for an eventful afternoon.

The women and girls greeted us at the door with huge smiles and hugs and kisses to go with it. They had four beautiful teenage daughters that I couldn't help but notice, stared at Jerid and Caleb with googely eyes. :) The women do not eat with guests, so it was us three and the two men sitting around a big oval table being served by all five girls. They brought out the largest platter of Mansiff I had ever seen! This is the traditional Jordanian dish although they prepared it with chicken instead of Lamb (the Palestinian way). Thank goodness! It was actually pretty good other than the bowls of lemony goats milk that they are supposed to drench the rice and meat in. In the Arab tradition the more you eat, the more you love them. We ate until we had rice halfway up our throats and that wasn't the end of it. Lubna, the wife was hysterical. She would laugh and laugh and she kept grabbing huge spoonfuls of the disgusting goats milk and would feed it to me. I honestly thought I was going to loose it! They boys just sat there laughing. Jerid was sure I was going to puke but I held back and kept showing the family that I "loved" them.

After dinner they proceeded to feed us desert and then some weird fruit off their trees, and spicy trail mix, and dates, and candy, and on and on. This is on top of the orange soda and Coca-Cola that they are refilling every time we take a drink. They were just so happy to have us! We laughed through the evening as we tried miserable to understand one another. We ended up having push-up contests and fun holding their pet turtle. It was a great time. They wanted to take a million pictures of us on their camera phone and I snapped a few with my camera. We ended up getting home around midnight, exhausted and grateful for our experience.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:45 min. outside Amman

BBQ at the Hensley's

Jerid and I invited Yazan and his friend out to our house for a little BBQ. They told us that they would give us a call around 6 to get directions to our house. Little did we know that that didn't mean we would be eating any time close to 6 or 7 or 8 or even 9. We both had a late breakfast so we thought we'd just wait and be extra hungry for dinner. Was that ever and understatement. Nine o'clock rolled around and they still hadn't arrived. Finally we got a call around 9:15pm so we headed out to the town to meet them at the circle with the giant coffee pot. They took us to the butcher to get the meat that we needed for dinner. The butcher literally took an entire lamb hanging in the window and chopped a few pieces off and did whatever they do, right in front of us. I have to admit that I gagged a few times but other than that it was cool to see what they actually do before it gets in the plastic wrap at our grocery stores back home. We then stopped by the fruit stand to grab veggies and fruit for a fruit salad, then off to our house.

Yazan and his friend did all of the work for the BBQ. They prepared all the meat and veggies and started up the BBQ by putting a piece of coal on our gas stove until it was red as can be then they put it in the BBQ and put a fan to it so that the rest of the coals would catch fire. It wasn't until around 1:00 in the morning that we finally feasted. It was fantastic traditional Jordanian Lamb kabobs and bread. We had so much fun with them, we can't wait to do it again!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Marg Al Hammam, Jordan

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Humanitarian Aid

Last Thursday we went with President Boyd to the Ministry of Social Development's storage units to get the church's portion of supplies that finally arrived in Jordan from the states. There is quite the drawn out process to get anything done with the government system here. It took President Boyd about two weeks to just get authorization to get into the storage unit to retrieve their shipment of goods. We labored hard from about 9:45am to 1:30pm, hauling boxes and loading wheelchairs. It was pretty funny to see how they reacted to a woman, a blond haired, blue eyed woman at that, working just as hard and long as they were. Haha! I was dripping with sweat and throwing boxes and laughing with the whole bunch even though I don't speak but three arabic words and only one of the egyptian men spoke any amount of english. Jerid was there for about an hour before he had to head back to the ministry and when he left all the men kept telling me to sit down and rest in the shade. I kept telling them... "la, la (no, no)... you sit down and rest, or start working harder!" They would laugh and laugh. Islamic Relief came later and helped as well. They picked up about 1/3 of the shipment. Olivia was the leader of their group and she was such a sweet, diligent woman. She kept hugging me thanking me for helping and telling me that we would be so blessed for doing the work. What an excellent example of service she was. She does this day in and day out.

Here are a few pictures of the day...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Amman, Jordan

A day with Yazan

Jerid's friend from the states set us up with her friend Yazan to tour the city. He met us at the amphitheater at the city center to start the day off with not only a great view of the city but also a great workout! When we first got to the amphitheater I realized it was a lot bigger than I had previously thought. I had already decided that I was not about to climb the stairs to the top when I looked up and saw that Jerid and Yazan were already 10 sets up... so I got hopping with my tight jeans and all. These stairs were by no means little either, it took quite large steps to get up them. We took our time at the top with a few photo ops, then headed down to the two museums on the sides of the theater. Here are a few shots of the day.

Looking down from the large theater to the small theater.

Inside one of the museums.

A mock up of the traditional summer attire for the women of Jordan.

Jerid sitting in a window inside the small theater.

Heading into The Martyr King's Mosque... I had to wear a full black robe thing. So hot and stinky.

Jerid and Yazan inside the Men's mosque.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Amman, Jordan