Despite the holiday mood and the scorching heat in Adelaide, about twenty people gathered earlier this month to inaugurate ALCASA’s Arabic conversation sessions in 2014. Khalaf and KawtherKhalaf's art workLamia, Kawther and FayrouzWe were fortunate enough to host a couple of well known Iraqi writers and their partners during the sessions: Abdelelah Sbahi known as Khalaf and his wife Kawther and  Sabah Alanbari and his wife Lamia. We had met Khalaf at the Laziza Festival in January. To ALCASA’s members delight, Khalaf, Sabah and Kawther joined in to support the February Arabic conversation session  with the Advanced group and worked along with Hayan, Ahmed, and Fayrouz. This had given the participants a golden opportunity to work in pairs. Each Arabic learner worked with one Arabic native-speaker who tried their best to sustain and support the developing Arabic conversation abilities. Lamia joined Hassan and Rua and their children for a play session around counting money and doing simple sums in Arabic.

During the cultural presentation, Khalaf showed us how to create things from unusual items that could be found around the house. To our astonishment we witnessed how to turn palm fronds into beautiful art objects and to turn nail polish into glossy gorgeous decorative flowers. Khalaf creativity inspired by his earlier years in Iraq captured our hearts. Children and adults tried their hands at following his steps. We all wished to have khalaf and his friends as members in ALCASA. Alas Khalaf and Kawther were just visiting Adelaide and will be back soon to Denmark where they live currently. We hope to see them again in Adelaide in the future and we would really love to see Sabah and Lamia joining again the Arabic Conversation sessions. Many thanks from all ALCASA members.

Fayrouz Ajaka

(Photos courtesy of Ahmed Khalidi & Sabah Alanbari)