Chapter Sixteen – “Me, I’m a vegetarian too, but I don’t have a problem with meat. I eat pork.”

Today, for the second time, we were relieved of our kitchen duties, this time by volunteer Doran and her friends who made a Korean feast for the visitors and residents. They were super prepared, arriving in the kitchen with everything presliced and whipping up six different dishes in hardly any time. Come 3pm, the table was full and suddenly so was the room; the smell of Korean rice, beef stew, mushroom stew, courgettes, pancakes and peppers filled the OH and everyone was talking about how good it tasted. We’ve managed to persuade Doran to share the secrets of her success with us, so recipes will follow shortly (and picture are below). 

Dutch volunteer Ingo returned from her early morning trip to Jumbo shortly after lunch, laden with paints and 10m of paper, which she proceeded to roll out on the floor, drawing around each child, ready for an afternoon of finger painting. The children loved it, plunging their fingers into pots of red, blue and yellow paint, which they smeared inside, outside and all over the lines of their silhouettes. 

We then popped home for a pit stop before heading out to our friend Rami’s house for a homecooked Syrian dinner. After introducing us to his family, Rami offered us a drink (coffee, coffee frappe, green tea, black tea) before telling us his one rule for the house: act as if you are at home. So we did, heading straight for the kitchen, where Rami had spent the day cooking. Frappes in hand, we watched in awe as he put the final touches to the rice, salad and creme to’om (garlic yoghurt), which he garnished with slices of spam, despite being a vegetarian, and the only Syrian vegetarian we’ve ever met. We’d warned Rami when he invited us for dinner that we were two and a half vegetarians, and he replied reassuring us that he was too but, confusingly, added that he doesn’t have a problem with meat, eating pork and occasionally chicken if there’s nothing else on offer (this may explain the spam). Rami told us we weren’t leaving until the bowl of rice was empty, which unsurprisingly wasn’t a problem. The food was delicious and the company even better, and we spent the evening laughing, talking and singing Justin Beiber until we almost fell asleep. We’re looking forward to our next dinner with Rami, especially since he’s promised to make us a “friendiversary”cake…


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