Books Worth a Look

  • Little Bee by Chris Cleave - This book is a must read. Better than anything else I've read, it takes you vividly into the life of a person in the 3rd world who has no choice but to escape. It is brilliantly written & works well as an audio book. Often I've sent info about the wonderful refugees I've met in Europe. We know only so much of their plight as it is painful for them to recall much less live through again by recounting it. But over time it is clear what they've lived through. This book is excellent as you discover the horrors of their world. Somewhat how to me, it is like being in Europe near a Concentration Camp. One has an obligation to visit it. 'Never to Forget.' In this case, to have our eyes opened.
  • Garbage King by Eliz Laird - The book is set on the streets on Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia and here lives Mamo and his sister Tiggist. When Mamo's "uncle" offers a job, he soon sets out on a bus to work. Little does he know that he is actually being sold into slavery...

Friday, January 22, 2010

Preparing dinner for 18, tutoring in English, hanging out! and The Jordaan

Dinner for 18 !

Yesterday was my turn to cook dinner for the house. Off in the a.m. to the market with 25 ($ 35.3375) to spend, you pedal about 19 minutes to the mall - many stores but not under one roof. Shopping for items only labeled in Dutch is not that difficult as most people speak English and are most gracious. You must bring your own carrying bags though.

Two bags one on each handlebar, off you pedal to the house. The guys wanted American hamburgers so we had 30 hamburgers, brocoli that took 35 minutes to steam - 3 heads is a lot! Baked potatoes complete the dinner. You must buy the correct potatoes as there are many types for sale in Holland. Don't forget to set the table!

After a noisy dinner, everyone liked the burgers-even me as I never both to mix the meat with much at home! Everyone claps enthusiastically for your work and then everyone gets up to clean up. The place is spotless in about 12 minutes, including the myriad of pots, pans, and bowls used to mix and cook in.

Tutoring English

Arian from Afghanistan asked me to work with him after dinner on English exercises. Seems the teacher forgot to register him into the system and he had until midnight to complete 11 exercises online. Easy, right? Not so fast! The problem is for at least 40% of the questions, no one talks like this in reality. There were many moments when I had to say choices over & over and figure out what they wanted. Arian is an amazingly gifted young man. He is literally fluent in English, Dutch and Pashtun, of course. We started at 7:30 and finished the last set at 11:30 with only 1 five minute break. Phew. We went into town to relax! To get from the metro stop to Waterlooplein we traversed the Red Light District, waved hello to the ladies & continued on!

Yesterday morning, a young lady from Cuba asked me to review her English study from Pre-intermediate, an curious term is it not! Like me in my Spanish study, she wanted to work on her conversation skills. We talked about her study in Cuba, first job and why she had to leave.
She's a quick learner and before you know it, it is 90 minutes later.

Hanging out

Each person has his or her own room. So it is not unusual for visiting. I've been invited to sample Turkish sweets, incredibly good, to watching a movie or just talking. You must take the best seat and it's all about you & your comfort.

The rest...

Only two days left. I will visit one or two museums I have yet to see and walk a lot especially in the Jordaan,

The Amsterdam Jordaan is undoubtedly the most sung about,

described and romanticized town district of the Netherlands. Started as a district for the poor, today it is a favorite place for students, artists and young professionals.

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Thoughts on the amazing people I get to meet.

Rich, my 19 year old friend, soon to be Franciscan and recent community member at Haley House in Boston. An article he wrote.