Tag Archives: Shadi

YES Program


Norma, Texas, 2007

The YES program was established following 9/11 to foster understanding between the United States and the Muslim World.

My wife and I have hosted two YES students. In our small community, experience with Muslim countries is most often a relative who has been deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan. Norma and Shadi were excellent ambassadors for their countries and their religion. They brought a higher understanding to our small town, especially to the young people at the high school. There is no question our YES students had a positive impact on their school and the larger community. Continue reading


Pickled Lemons

Preparing Pickled Lemons

Preparing Pickled Lemons

One staple of North African and Arabic cooking is pickled lemons. There is a recipe for chicken tagine with green olives and pickled lemons that gets made in our home on a regular basis. I have found pickled lemons at the Arabic grocery store, but they are not nearly as good as what you can prepare at home. With a few hours of preparation time, you can make enough pickled lemons to last a year. Continue reading

Cheb Khaled

Sahra, Cheb Khaled

Sahra, Cheb Khaled

I had the track Aicha (listen and watch) from this CD of Cheb Khaled in my world music collection for years and never listened to it before Shadi came and gave me an education in music from the Muslim world. Aicha is a song of which I never tire, and I will sometimes set the CD changer in my car to repeat so that I can listen to it over and over again. Think of it as sort of the Pachebel’s Canon of Raï.

Paul Tingen wrote an excellent article in Sound on Sound that goes in-depth about Khaled, Raï, and the recording of Sahra.

Cheb Khaled’s fan site (in French) can be found here.

Life with a Muslim Exchange Student

Volunteer Work, Texas, 2007

Volunteer Work, Texas, 2007

Somehow in our hosting journey we were transitioned from Slavic to Muslim daughters. After four daughters from Russia and Belarus as well as months spent in those two countries, having a Russian in the house became comfortable and predictable. Those things that made them Russian no longer seemed different or surprising but just what was to be expected. Without doubt, taking in a Muslim exchange daughter moved us out of our comfort zone and into a new learning experience. Continue reading


Shatha, 2008

Shatha, 2008

This is the “Face of Yemen.”

We were returning from one of Shadi’s many planned events, this time a short road trip with friends to an Arabic restaurant for dinner. Shadi loves to make people smile. She also has a wonderful way of saying little things in such an extremely over-dramatic manner that you just have to laugh. Continue reading

Be Careful! Tea Kettles!

"Danger, Tea Kettles", Pereslavl-Zalessky, Russian Federation, June 2008

"Be Careful! Tea Kettles!", Tea Kettle Museum, Pereslavl-Zalessky, Russian Federation, June 2008

In the Golden Ring north of Moscow, outside of Pereslavl-Zalessky where Alexander Nevsky was born, and near Lake Pleshcheyevo on which a young Peter the Great sailed his boats, is located the funky little Tea Kettle Museum. Continue reading