"Thanks and thanks again to Him who offers to the man whom the sorrows of life have assaulted and left naked–offers to him the fig leaf of the Word with which he can cover his wretchedness." -Søren Kierkegaard

Honored Guests, Amazing Food

Posted in Friends, Photography by matt on Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I made friends with an English teacher on a recent visit to a local mosque. During that particular prayer-time I was the only white guy in the mosque. That alone makes me stick out, but I’m used to it (in Thailand, I was a pasty giant).

But the fact that I had 2 video cameras going in the back of the room during their prayer time made me look like an absolute freak. I’m slow to self-consciousness, but my freak-o-meter was off the charts. I could feel the looks.

So you can imagine how good it felt to have the English teacher dart over after prayers to introduce himself. He had a huge smile on his face. If this guy were Baptist, he’d be chairman of the welcoming committee. He was jubilant to see me. So much so that his English was all over the place, “I am feel happy you come to our mosque!” “We love you, you will welcomed here.”

He then proceeded to sing-chant the story of Joseph to me from the Qur’an. I was later told it was his way of honoring me.

The whole group gathered for dinner.

But to make sure I felt honored – for honor is of the utmost importance to people here – he invited Cayla and I over for dinner. In the above photo, the teacher is pictured holding his son and sitting next to his daughter, my friend Raman is in the green-striped shirt, then our friend Lydia and Cayla next to her.

Such an amazing spread!

The food was spectacular! He and his wife were so kind, and their two children were a lot of fun to play with.

The two kids are so cute! Cayla with little Hamma.

I wasn’t too keen on all the English we spoke (it’s not helpful for people trying to learn Kurdish, like us), but I’m really glad we were able to spend this time with them.

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Afternoon Prayers at a Local Mosque

Posted in Photography by matt on Thursday, September 15, 2011

Afternoon prayers at the Baxtiari Mosque in Sulaymaniyah