Sunday, May 14, 2006

Saturday at M'ghar

We had breakfast at our host's home this morning. The conference didn't begin until 10:30. They were concerned that what they had for breakfast wasn't quite enough but we didn't want them to futz around in the kitchen more than they usually would do for themselves just to make us eggs. We could do without them and the fresh rolls with labane topped off with home-made zaatar (hyssop mixed with sesame seeds) and home-made cracked olives with endless tea and coffee was certainly enough.

Their oldest daughter offered to do my makeup because she took a makeup course. I usually dread having others do my makeup because I like to have that natural look and much to my distate, many Arab girls overdo it in the makeup department and I knew I was going to end up looking like a Drag Queen if she did my makeup, but I let her anyway. Out came the blue eyeshadow (a sure sign) but I stopped her at the heavy black eyeliner. I thought that was so sweet of her to offer and felt pampered nevertheless.

She did the same to my "roomie".

After breakfast we asked to meet Azam Azam afterwards, who lived next door to where we were staying. I didn't know much about the man who was incarcerated in an Egyptian prison for 8 1/2 years but the other woman knew alot more. She was elated to meet with him.

"Don't you have to call him first? Don't you need to ask him if we could come over?" she asked.

"AZAAAAMMMM!!" yelled out our host as we walked around the corner. That's his way of calling.

His door had stickers in Hebrew saying "Free Azam".

He is in the midst of writing a book about his ordeal (he's on chapter 8). Of course, what do you ask a stranger that all you know about him was that he was in prison. I asked him what he ate in jail.

"Ful! How do you say 'ful' in English?"

"Fava Beans"

That was his staple diet there and I'm sure he didn't want to look at that stuff any more. I told him I hadn't ever been to Egypt other than a lovely visit to Sinai near Tarabin where it seemed like Paradise - but to him, Egypt is anything but paradise and I don't think he'll ever venture more south than Eilat in this lifetime.
His wife told me that his youngest was 1 1/2 when he was imprisoned and they're all getting to know their dad now. She never ventured out of the house all those 8 1/2 years. He was a funny, boisterous man and we had coffee yet again in their home. I was getting totally wired. He said he would try to make it down to our conference.

It was lovely being with him because the mood there was so upbeat and I always like a happy ending instead of a tragic one. Unfortunately, tragedy also hit this village on Friday when a young father (33 years old), a Druze man, drowned in the Kinneret while retrieving a soccer ball for one of his kids. We were told that it be respectable to visit with the wife and mother of the man around noon before the funeral. I didn't know what to expect and we went into this building where there were only Druze women, hundreds of them, all wearing black with white sheer head coverings. I feel very uncomfortable in my sky blue flowing Indian dress with sequins. Talk about really feeling embarrassed. We walked in a line to shake hands with the mourners and express our sorrow, and before I knew what was happening the dead body was lying in a casket right in front of me with the weeping women standing over it, while I shook their hands and cried with them. I had never seen a dead body before in my life. Jews cover their dead and I wondered how difficult it must be to see a lifeless loved one in front of you, although I know it is common practice to have a "wake" in the Christian world, I don't know how one stands it.

I tried to get back into my Sabbath mode - a bit difficult after this ordeal - to have lunch all together. Our ride to Jerusalem left early - 4 hours before the conference ended and because Hubby is leaving for Haifa early Sunday morning for a few days I wanted to be nice and spend some time with him before he left.

1 comment:

conker said...

we put that man in Heaven...