Explore the world and countries where IDEAS professionals work by creating and savoring these recipes from the Middle East, Thailand, and North Africa! Enjoy!

“Where can I make a phone call?” I asked my roommate who had lived in Casablanca for a year longer than I had. “There are no pay phones here,” she replied. Hmmm, I thought. Many people in the city don’t have the money for cell phones. How do they make calls?

“I am urine.” Carefully and tentatively I enunciate the unfamiliar sounds. My language tutor’s mouth twitches as she tries to keep a straight face. Politeness and honor are part of her country’s language culture. Trying hard not to laugh out loud, she then tells me what accidentally came out of my mouth while practicing verb declensions.

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The beginning of a new year is a time to look back. In spite of all the challenges, there have also been many moments of rejoicing. I’ve seen small seeds of change begin to take root and new doors open.

I feel incredibly privileged to be with IDEAS! My husband and I joined IDEAS in 1999, specifically because we embraced its vision to see transformed lives in communities of contagious hope. 

2020 was a year of reminders for many of us, including the fragility of humanity, the necessity of community, and the unpredictability of life. Entering into 2021, I've been thinking about how to put into practice what I learned in 2020.

Books change lives. Several years ago, I was visiting a library here in Jordan. As the librarian and I talked, a high-school student approached us and showed us a book, saying, “This book changed my life.” The book was "Quiet Power" by Susan Cain. In a very extroverted culture, this student had always thought something was ...

In the midst of this challenging year, I had a great Thanksgiving. Our IDEAS community here in Jordan gathered for dinner, as we usually do. The difference this year? 

Growing up, I never liked sports. I was one of those girls who was slow at running and afraid of dodge ball in P.E. class. Thankfully, I was gifted in music. Somehow that compensated my lack of interests in sports. “It’s OK because I am good at music,” I thought.

My refugee friends are teaching me what it means to seek the well-being of the city that has become my home.