Katye Ziolkowski

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Posted by on in Volunteer Stories

Hope and Elizabeth graced us with their presence yet again, and added a new skill to their resume, Interior Decorating, while making our show room more functional and beautiful!

But first, we cooked French Toast together! (I was mostly there for moral support and comic relief.) Oola, the culinary mastermind of all things Jordanian and delicious, quickly learned our strange ways. We told the ladies we hoped it would be Zaki, delicious! 

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Sharook prepared tea for the morning break and joined the cooking adventure. We played How Many Cooks Can You Fit in a Kitchen? Though the space is small, we found that 4 to 5 people is a little tight, but the conversation and laughter makes it worth every second!

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It's amazing how food brings people together!

We were unsure of how the women would like our traditional breakfast staple, but we managed to create something they found zaki! 

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Hope (far right) "talking" with Rahab (far left). During her times at the shop, Hope has picked up the art of talking with her hands and listening with her eyes!

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Plenty of dusting, rearranging, vacuuming, rearranging again, laughing, confusion, more rearranging and together we turned this:

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Into this!

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The perfect combination of work and play,

We say thank you to our friends for a fun-filled, productive day! 

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Posted by on in Volunteer Stories
Chivalry is not Dead

A few days ago, I was doing some grocery shopping. It was around sunset, my favorite time of day, when the light begins to fade and people are out running errands. I stopped at the little grocery store, then the bakery, and just finished up at the tiny produce shop, which is my favorite. My hold on the shopping bags was a little precarious and as I adjusted it, I dropped my bag of nectarines and with two of them rolling down the sloped sidewalk, I picked up the unruly grocery sack and planned to just leave the fallen nectarines. They had a bit of a head-start on my bag-laden self and I figured they were lost. I already made a little bit of a spectacle and I wanted to move on. With all this going through my head, I saw a boy, about 8 or 9-years-old, walking towards me. He quickened his step and chased down my two sad little nectarines, picked them both up, and handed them to me. Though it caught me by surprise, I had enough of my wits about me to say Shoe-kron kteer, that is, thank you very much.

It's the little things that bring smiles and joy to my life. It is events like this, as I travel and I am in the States, that cause me to say that chivalry is not dead, it is very much alive. 

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Posted by on in Olive Wood

While wandering through the shop today, I found Randa's work station where she is assembling 3-D Creche Ornaments.

 

So many hands are involved in the process to get it to this point. The olive wood logs are delivered to the shop. Downstairs, on the ground floor of the shop, is the Men's Workshop. There the men cut the logs into smaller pieces and they supply the women upstairs with slats of olive wood to create the elements included in this design. The men also complete the base and the roof of the creche. The slats are sent upstairs where the women stamp the design onto the wood and expertly cut the shapes, the palm tree, the manger scene, the star, and the back, out of the wood. They sand the rough edges off each piece and this brings us to bins of pieces ready for our artisans to assemble. 

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Randa has already begun the assembly process for some!

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The base and the back joined together.

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The roof has been added!

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A neat little stack, one step closer to completion.

Randa and Rania will put glue them together. The other ladies will put the finish on them, attach a ring and ribbon, and here we have an ornament ready for this holiday season!

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A lot of steps go into this incredible creation!

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So Beautiful!

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A wonderful way to say "Merry Christmas!" to the loved ones in your life!

 

For more on this fascinating process, some friends of the shop have created a video of the Tabletop Creche! Same idea, different size.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wK3hOa2mBIc 

 

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I wish I could better describe the wonder of the senses which is a sunset in Amman. Pictures will have to do, that is, until you make the trek for yourself. Until then, here are a few glimpses of the lovely time of day when the air begins to cool and the sun bathes the city in a golden glow. 

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And yes, I get some strange looks when I stop to take a picture of what people see everyday. 

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Sometimes I purposely go shopping at this time of the day...Can you begin to guess why?

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And as the sun goes down the city starts to light up, which is a whole different kind of beautiful.

Goodnight, Amman.

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Posted by on in Volunteer Stories
Allow Me to Introduce Myself

Hello friends! My name is Katye. I'm a small-town girl from the Midwest and I've had the privilege of living in Chicago, Athens, and now Amman. I am a recent college-grad, a nerd about social sciences, and never imagined I would enjoy city life as much as I do. Making people laugh is one of my favorite past-times, especially if those people are my little nieces and nephews and we're giggling uncontrollably about something quite absurd. Other things you should know: I'm an introvert, my favorite number is five, I'm terrible at blowing bubbles with bubble gum, and as a child, my life aspiration was to be a librarian. Alas, that dream has not been realized. But there is still time. 

 

I will be interning here at Holy Land Designs this Autumn, doing quite a bit of writing for this organization. In addition to updating product descriptions, I will be sharing a little bit of what life is like, here in Jordan, and at the shop. I'm thrilled to be here and I can't wait to share it with all of you! 

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Posted by on in Recipes
Cooking Lessons: Galayat Bandoura Edition
Recently Hope, Elizabeth, (two college students who are in Amman and gifting the shop their presence one day a week) and Katye had the privilege of a private cooking lesson with Oola. It was a grand time with limited verbal communication, much laughter, and many smiles. Hope and Elizabeth brushed up on the Arabic words for onion, garlic, green pepper, and tomato. Oola thought it quite entertaining when it came time to chop onions and Katye had to take a break because there were tears rolling down her face. "Kwaise" and "Shatra," words meaning good and smart, were  repeated many times by the patient instructor. So, for you at home. Here is the recipe for Galayat Bandoura.
 
 
Amounts are relative. Basically the tomatoes should be the main ingredient with a good amount of green pepper and onion to compliment it. Oola used a whole head of garlic for this batch serving 14 people. And, in the case of garlic, more is generally better. Seasonings are completely up to your discretion as our expert Oola just poured them in while we stirred. 
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1. Peel the tomatoes. 
2. Dice green pepper and tomatoes. Do not combine, yet.
3. Cut onions into long strips. It's okay to cry. Just be sure to picture Oola's sweet smiling face. 
4. Chop or mince garlic. Either way is fine. 
5. In a pot large enough to combine all the ingredients, coat the bottom with sunflower oil or olive oil, add garlic, onion, and green pepper.
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6. After these have cooked a little, add tomatoes. 
7. Bring to boil and simmer, stirring often.
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8. Add salt and white pepper. 
9.Cover and simmer until the combination is the consistency of salsa. Stirring occasionally. 
10. Serve with pita bread. Preferably with the dish in the middle of the table circled by friends and family. And if you can manage to serve it with a kettle of chai, all the better. Enjoy! 
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