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Volunteer Stories

Stories from our volunteers at Holy Land Designs

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! 




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!




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! 




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!


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


Into this!


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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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. 


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


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





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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As you may know, we’ve had the privilege of learning how to cook Jordanian dishes from the wonderful ladies at Holy Land Designs. Lynn asked us to share a little bit of “our” culture with the women, so we tapped into our North American roots and introduced Taco Tuesday into the Holy Land portfolio.


This may surprise you, but it’s not always easy to find authentic Mexican ingredients in the Middle East. But have no fear, we adapted to the situation and created a mega Mexican-Middle-East hybrid taco. This culinary monstrosity was made possible by a large local flatbread, perfect for any burrito masquerading as a taco (or in Haddie’s words, a village masquerading as a burrito masquerading as a taco).

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We could try to tell you how wide these ladies’ eyes got when they saw the size of their lunch, but you just had to be there. Nevertheless, when the going got tough, the tough got going, and only the most courageous of hearts succeeded in finishing their meal. Kathryn was not one of them.


We came up with the original idea of giving the meal for free to anyone who could eat the whole thing in less than an hour, but then we realized the meal was free for everyone. Alas, these victors names will only ever be etched into our memories as the noblest souls who ever crossed the threshold of a burrito bar.

And that’s a wrap,

Haddie & Kathryn

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