Sam's Life

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Some Exciting News!

Heading to Slovakia to visit my family

My Saudi visa was extended today for an additional 3 months.  I’m leaving for Vienna, Austria, on March 6th and will return to Jeddah on March 19th.  I’ll have a stop-over in Istanbul, Turkey, and then on to Vienna. From the Vienna airport, I will then take an airport bus for 40 minutes to Bratislava, Slovakia, and then the train to Poprad – a 5-hour train ride north to the Tatra Mountains – just south of the Polish border. (I’ll be going from 85 degrees to 15 degrees.)

Sam in a "schmag" with his friend, Ra'id

Here in Jeddah, I’ve been “schmag-ed”!

Today, my Saudi friend Ra’id (pronounced Rah-ed) brought me this schmag (Saudi head scarf) (photo) and arranged it perfectly on my head!  The office staff wanted me to give a serious pose, but I was so happy I couldn’t stop smiling. It’s an honor to receive this consideration from a Saudi friend.

In a couple of days Ra’id is taking me back to his family’s farm to check on “Leila”–the camel that Janulik (my daughter) and I have adopted.  You’re no doubt asking what it means to “adopt” a camel. Well, there’s no official adoption involved, and I don’t own “Leila” per se. It’s just an amazing phenomenon. “Leila” seems to have adopted me (or our Shropshire family). When I’m on the farm, she comes to me–staring me directly in the eyes. I move, she moves–following me around. So for our coming trip to the farm, Ra’id, Kimo and I will stop to buy lots of pita bread on the way. “Leila” loves pita bread!

Next winter, there will be thousands of camels from all over Saudi Arabia and the Middle East converging on Jeddah for a “camel beauty contest.” I’ve asked Ra’id if we could enter “Leila” in the contest. He’s giving it serious consideration.

My office mates now affectionately call me “Sam of Arabia.” I’m very grateful to be living here on the Arabian Peninsula and to have made such incredible friends.  And I’m gradually learning more and more Arabic which certainly helps in getting around.

An introduction to my friend and associate Dr. Safi Kaskas

For a Muslim perspective on the need for Muslim-Christian religious reconciliation, I introduce you to my dear friend and colleague Dr. Safi Kaskas. Safi is the president of the 40-year old Association of Muslim Social Scientists in North America. You can learn more about Safi by clicking here.

And Trac5 – building bridges between the Abrahamic faiths

International peacemakers developed the Trac5 faith-based approach, utilizing proven strategies toward reconciliation and peace within the context of the Abrahamic faiths. Through the various sacred texts and human fellowship, Trac5 seeks to build bridges beyond the usual climate of politics and state foreign policies.  The core principles of the Trac5 model have been successfully tested over the course of 27 years of  real-world outreach. To learn more about Trac5 click here.


February 25, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , ,

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