Dalal al-Zoubi works the chopped parsley into a mound of kebab meat, massaging the mixture in a silver bowl. She rolls the meat between her palms, and stabs it with thin, wooden skewers.
Across the table, Manahel al-Shareef chops mint, parsley, tomatoes and cucumbers on a bright green cutting board, and tosses the ingredients into a bowl. The women work methodically, with small bursts of chatter and gentle instructions flying between them in Arabic.
Al-Zoubi and al-Shareef are founding chefs at the Karam Kitchen (Karam means “generous” in Arabic), a small catering business run by Syrian refugees newly arrived in Hamilton, with the help of local organizers.
It’s a Thursday afternoon in the kitchen, and the women are preparing an order for about 20 people: kofta kebabs (ground lamb and beef skewers), falafel, potatoes, salad and hummus.
“We’re blending into Canadian society, with the people, not staying alone,” said al-Zoubi, a former teacher in Syria, describing the impact that getting involved with the kitchen has had on her family. “Working helps us build our confidence.”
It has also helped her improve her English vocabulary. “We learned many new words,” she said, going through the list, laughing: “Eggplant. Parsley. Parsley was new for me … tomato, potato, eggs, milk, zucchini, onion, peanuts, pistachio …”
Al-Zoubi and al-Shareef are both originally from Daraa, in southwestern Syria, and lived as refugees in Jordan after their families fled their home country in 2012 because of the ongoing war. But they met in Canada, where they both arrived in early 2016. Al-Zoubi came with her husband and four children, while al-Shareef was resettled alongside her husband and seven children.
Sep 29, 2020The executive committee, headed by the principal secretary to the prime minister, will oversee the overall process of the relocation The government has formed a high-powered executive committee with respect to the planned relocation of nearly 100,000 Rohingyas to Bhashan Char from the congested camps in Cox’s Bazar, multiple sources told Dhaka Tribune on Monday. […]
Sep 26, 2020