Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Community Service in Jordan - Students Speak Out

 Tweens and teens. We so often associate young people in these age groups with words like “taciturn,” “grumpy,” “dramatic,” and “shortsighted.” So, I knew that I was talking with an exceptional group of young people about a truly amazing social service project, when they responded to my questions with thought, poise, and eloquence far beyond their years.

During the course of my visit to Asamiah International School, I have the privilege of sitting with Farah Abughosh (Age11), Saad Shaban (Age 13), Abdallatif Sleib (Age 15), and Hala Al-Hijjawi (Age 14). I ask the small group what they find valuable about community service. Their current project involves delivering food, home, and educational materials – all specifically requested by the local community – to residents of the village of Burbeita in the south of Jordan.

“It teaches students to be thankful,” Hala offers in quiet, thoughtful tone. Student council president Abdallatif builds on this comment. “We gain perspective about our own world. Our community is small, and we don’t know a lot about our own country… Our school physically involves us in this project. It’s our own touch. We know that we’re helping and supporting our community in our own way, even if it’s in a small way. The whole Jordanian community”

These projects provide priceless and critical opportunities for exchange between Jordanians from different social groups, regions, economic classes, and educational levels. They facilitate the interaction and dialogue that can too often remain absent from the lives of young Amman residents. To learn more about the role of community service in Asamiah School's mission and pedagogy, as well as its meaning for Asamiah students, check out the January issue of Family Flavours. 

As always, don't forget to head to our Website and check out what's new!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Looking Forward to Warmer Days...

Hey there Family Flavours family! Despite what it feels like right now, it'll be spring before we know it! Are you familiar with all of the wonderful outdoors/adventure organizations in Jordan? This a rapidly-growing niche of Jordan's tourist economy and is focused on promoting sustainable, environmentally friendly local development practices and cross-cultural connections. Plus, we all need to get outdoors more and enjoy this beautiful country! As a preview to an upcoming Family Flavours article, which features a lucky group of students from the International Community School who took a wonderful day-trip to the villages of Orjan and Rasoun, I want to give a special shout out the two organizations represented by our fabulous guides. A big thank you to Ayman, Jawad, and Ahlam from Experience Jordan, and a big thank you to Theo from the Abraham Path Initative! You will meet them all in an upcoming issue of Family Flavours.

 (Note: this image is actually of Wadi Hasa, which is not in Ajloun. It is, however, in Jordan! And you can hike through it!)

Experience Jordan:

Experience Jordan was set up by a team of British, Jordanian and Palestinian outdoor enthusiasts.  They have spent days exploring the sites of Jordan, both the amazing sites that are well known, as well as the little known sites that we've found and love to share. As a team, they have been exploring the sites themselves for years, taking their children, friends and family members to the quieter spots of Jordan.

Operating both weekly hikes, predetermined tour routes, and customised tours, they want to share these gems with you, let you meet the locals, taste home cooked meals, and hear stories of a nation that remains a beacon of peace and hope in a troubled region.  Experience Jordan operates with over 50 years of experience offering trips in Jordan and the Middle East, and they are happy to assist you with our knowledge of the region to create the perfect trip for you.

To learn more, please visit: http://www.experiencejordan.com/

The Abraham Path Initiative:

The Abraham Path Initiative (API) is an international organization working to cultivate the development of the Abraham Path, a long distance walking trail across the Middle East that retraces the journey of the prophet Abraham (Ibrahim). The current route covers over 1,000km and spans 15 different regions. The initiative is a non-profit, non-religious and non-political organization working with local and international partner organizations.

The mission of the Abraham Path Initiative is to support local partners in developing the Abraham Path as:
  • A catalyst for socioeconomic development and sustainable tourism.
  • A place of meeting and connection between people from the Middle East and people around the world.
  • A creative space for stories that highlight the unique culture, heritage and hospitality of the region.
The purpose of the Abraham Path is to inspire understanding, prosperity, and hope for humanity by inviting us to participate in a grand adventure: to walk together in the cradle of civilization, to meet people from very different cultures and traditions, to learn something new about ourselves, others, and the world, and to serve the larger community.

To learn more, please visit: http://abrahampath.org/

(And please note, there are several other great outdoors organizations currently operating in Jordan!)

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Kitchen Inspiration

Hey there Family Flavours family,

With all these snow days piling up, I thought it would be timely to post some great food blogs featuring Middle East cuisine. Check them out, and get cooking! صحتين

Dirty Kitchen Secrets http://www.dirtykitchensecrets.com/

Born in the United States to a Lebanese Father and American mother, Bethany Kehdy spent her childhood growing up with her father, grandparents, and aunts in Lebanon. Fluent in French, Arabic, and English, Kehdy began her blog after spending her twenties traveling around the world and working in the food industry. In addition to her website, which is divided into 6 sections: Home, Press, Portfolio, Recipes, Media Zone, and Cookbook, she is also the founder of Taste Lebanon, which provides culinary food tours across Lebanon. The recipes section of the blog features ideas for: Terweeka/Breakfast, Mezze, Tabikh/Mains,  Helou/Sweets, Vegetarian, Video Recipes, Other Recipes, and comes with a “Lebanese Pantry” section, which provides information on ingredients and components unique to Lebanese cooking.

Chef in Disguise http://chefindisguise.com

Palestinian-born Sawsan grew up in Amman until this past summer, when she moved with her husband to the Emirates for a job opportunity. “By day,” she explains on her blog’s homepage, “ I am an orthodontist, by night I am a passionate food explorer.” Her recipes feature Middle Eastern recipes, along with thoughts and information about the history and culture of the Middle East, and she occasionally spotlights international cuisine as well. Sawsan highlights the use of fresh produce and rich spices in regional Levantine cuisine. Using Word Press as her platform, recipes are sorted alphabetically by categories that include both types of meals and major ingredients.

Sips and Spoonfuls http://sipsandspoonfuls.com/ 

Tanzanian-born Sukaina lives in Dubai with her husband and two children, and she features Middle Eastern recipes with a healthy representation of south and southeast Asian inspired tastes as well. She describes the blog as “a compilation of generations of recipes, tales of my family, my childhood as well as labours of my photography. It is filled with beautiful memories, beautiful meals and beautiful images.” Sukaina weaves an intimate narrative around each recipe, providing context and inspiration. The blog is notable for its stunning food photography (Sukaina is a professional freelance photographer who previously worked as an optometrist), with pictures truly good enough to eat!

Banan Cooking http://banancooking.com/ 

This blog, written by local Jordanian foodie Banan Gharaibeh, offers a simple and direct route to authentic, local dishes. Often accompanied by the names of dishes written in Arabic, and occasionally ingredients as well (always helpful, especially for trips to the market), most of the recipes are prefaced by a story or information about the importance of the featured dish to different holidays. “Though I studied Pharmacy, writes Gharaibeh, “my dream in life is to own a small cozy restaurant serving homemade meals and sweets.”

Want more inspiration? Check out: 
http://mideats.com/about/virtual-chefs/ - Brenda Abdellal and Heba Saleh, both Egyptian-Americans, feature an extensive recipe collection of Middle Eastern and Middle Eastern-inspired cuisine 
http://www.anissas.com/about/ - Featuring the recipes of Syrian-Lebanese Anissa Helou 
http://www.saffronpudding.com/ - Written by Fatemah, born and raised in Kuwait with Iranian roots

And as always, head on over to Family Flavours and pick up a copy of the magazine for more recipes, health tips, and food features! 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Problem Behavior - Parents and Experts Respond

Hey there Family Flavours family! Hope you are all staying warm and dry.

Earlier this fall, Family Flavours conducted a survey in which parents like you identified "managing problem and challenging behavior" one of their chief concerns.

In response, we put together a roundtable discussion between childhood development and parenting expert Sirsa Qursha and four different local parents to explore the subject in depth. Participants Dr. Lana Hatmleh, family physician and mother of two, Mario Junior Appiani, brand manager and father of three, Shoroq Mobideen, primary school teacher and mother of three, and Ayat Qunibi, homemaker and mother of three all weighed in with their experiences and thoughts.

The group candidly discussed what they did and didn't consider problem behavior, "behaviour that could cause stress to a child’s parents and to children around him and disrupt the environment," as well as the different types of problem behaviors that emerge at different stages of development and that vary between genders.

They also discussed ways to manage problem behaviors, specifically different types of discipline, the merits of positive discipline techniques, and the contentious topic of spanking. Finally, all of the parents identified moments and issues that require additional help and support from specialists and experts. To check out the full article, pick up the a copy of our December, or visit the website for an online version of the article here: http://familyflavours.com/familyflavours/public/DefaultDetails.aspx?id=461&type=article

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Winter-proof your skincare routine!

Hey there Family Flavours Family!

Winter is infamous for the toll it takes on your skin. The effects of the cold, dry air outside are only exacerbated when you step indoors into the heat. As we gear up for a potential snow day (or two!), here are some helpful ways to protect your skin against the winter freeze...  

Cover up: Not only stylish, gloves can also provide an effective barrier for locking moisture in. After lathering up with moisturiser, slipping a pair of cotton gloves on can help soften and more effectively rehydrate skin. If your hands are very dry, go for a cream rather than a lotion, as lotions are watered down. Beauty expert Zina Snobar also recommends utilising hats and scarves to protect against windburn.

Milk: Milk isn’t just good for your bones. The natural fats and lactic acid can help to soften, exfoliate and calm irritated skin. If you have a bathtub, add two cups of milk to warm water, along with a few drops of oil, recommends Snobar, and soak away. No bath? No problem. Look for a milk and honey-based cream, mask or scrub.

Shower smartly: Sometimes, nothing seems more tempting than a boiling hot shower to wash the cold away. The problem is that very hot temperatures actually further dehydrate your skin and hair. Stick to warm-but-not-hot temperatures and limiting your shower to 10 minutes maximum in order to incur less long-term damage.

And don't forget your sunscreen!

For more winter tips and advice, check out the current edition of Family Flavours 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Childhood Diabetes - Do You Know the Signs?

Hello Family Flavours Family, and Happy New Year!

Start the New Year off on the right foot, and learn more about an increasingly global health phenomenon affecting children and young adults: childhood diabetes.

Did you know?
  1. About 5,000 to 6,000 children in Jordan are affected by Type I Diabetes
  2. As childhood obesity rates continue to increase, so do the rates of Type II Diabetes
  3. Some of the common symptoms include: drinking excessive amounts of water and frequent urination, especially during the night.
Childhood Endocrinologist Dr. Sima Kalaldeh explains that children can develop Type I Diabetes as early as their first birthday and it can appear any time during childhood and adolescence, even up to 40 years of age. Type I Diabetes is permanent and incurable. 
Previously, adds Chief Scientific Officer Dr Nash’at Dahabreh, Type 2 Diabetes was found primarily in adults since it is linked with unhealthy lifestyle choices and being overweight. With Type II diabetes, the body either fails to use insulin, which facilitates and regulates the movement of sugar into cells, or the body loses its capacity to produce enough insulin. Today, more and more children around the world are being diagnosed with Type II diabetes. 
To learn more about childhood diabetes, including what to do if you think your child has diabetes and what happens post-diagnosis, you can check out the November issue of Family Flavours.
Or, head on over to Jordan's own Eradeh organization has a website (www.eradeh.org) and a Facebook page (Eradeh) that can be helpful for parents and children alike.