Dardasha in March

We had a most enjoyable “dardasha” session on Sunday 18 March, with much laughter and fun. There were five native Arabic speakers and six others with varying degrees of Arabic fluency.

We were very lucky to have the company of Lur, a young Iraqi writer, newly established in Adelaide. Five years in Australia, honours degree in writing from Adelaide University. She has written a book, hosted conferences, written for magazines and made videos, a very positive role model for women of any persuasion.

Next, another newcomer, Najwa, who came to Australia from Lebanon two years ago, showed us a Triz game which uses a board with shapes drawn on and a white and black pawn.

It was then time for a few of us to talk about a book we have read.  Alison commenced with an outline of Juha and his Donkey جحا وحماره.  This is a famous Arabic fable wherein Juha is travelling with his son and his donkey.  Juha is constantly criticised along the road by various people he meets.  He is accused of being cruel or stupid whether he rides the donkey, his son rides the donkey, they both ride the donkey, or they walk alongside the donkey.  Eventually he and his son carry the donkey, in an attempt to please everyone.  But they are ridiculed for this too.  The moral of the story is that you cannot please everyone all the time.

While I did not understand all what Alison said as I am still very much a learner of the Arabic language, it did prompt me to look up the story further on the internet when I got home.  There are various YouTube videos of this story and I particularly liked the one by a group of children as part of the “Hands up project”.  The video was obviously taken by another young student and it was not a professional video, but it was heart-warming to watch.  From my internet searches, I now see that Juha has lots of adventures, all with a moral.  Thanks Alison, for introducing me to this character.

Next, Alice spoke about her time in Lebanon as a university student there.  She thought it was amusing that one of her subjects in Lebanon happened to be English literature.  However, she had an excellent professor and particularly appreciated books about memories of war and the sense of emotion these evoked.

We moved on to Mary, a teacher of Japanese and student of Arabic, who showed a colourful, A3, laminated production of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”   الدودة الجائعة جداً.  This is a favourite book for young children as the caterpillar eats its way through various fruits and vegetables and ends up becoming a beautiful butterfly فراشة.  Mary spoke in Arabic about the book and explained that she had translated it into Japanese and a friend had prepared the pictures from the original book.  How’s that – from English, to Japanese and then to explain it in Arabic – fantastic, Mary!

Andrew, displayed a fun book which his young grandson loves – all about cars, trains, planes, buses and trucks السّيّارات والقطارات والطّائرات والباصات والشّاحنات.  It was most enjoyable to hear Andrew speak in Arabic about this book and he did an excellent job of describing the various means of transport and stations, along with the colours.  He was not sure how to describe the “forty flaps” which his grandson delights in opening, but I believe we settled on “أربعين صورة” in Arabic.

Bruno chose a more serious subject to talk about and he spoke fluently. Bruno enticed us to watch the movie and to read the book بناية يعقوبيان.

It was then my turn to speak and I had chosen a book by a Japanese lady, Marie Kondo, called “The life-changing magic of tidying”.  I confess that I had to use Google Translate to find out how to say that in Arabic سحر تغيير الحياة بالتّرتيب.  A book on tidying seems rather trivial in a world with daily news of wars and other terrible events, but it seems that many of us are struggling under the weight of too many material things in our homes.  The author believes we should only keep items that “spark joy” and this entails holding each item in our hands to decide.  She advocates throwing out or recycling everything else that is not essential to our daily lives.  It was interesting to learn about the widespread Japanese belief that material things have feelings and they should be thanked for their help in our lives.  This book prompted a discussion about the minimalist movement around the world and we discussed expressions like الزهد والتنسك، التقشف

Japanese seems to have come up rather a lot in this article, but we were speaking in Arabic – no matter how basic – and it felt like a very joyful meeting.

We were then joined by the children’s group for afternoon tea where everyone was happy to keep chatting for well over the half-hour allotted time.  A big thank you to all involved.

Sue Young

ALCASA Chilren’s Group, movie making time!

ALCASA Children's Group

ALCASA Children’s Group

ALCASA Children’s Group held their first session of 2018 on Sunday 18/02.  It was a very productive start, with a song to learn, an Arabic story to read and movie making time.

Learning the song, the children were very creative with making dance moves to go with it. I guess it was very challenging for the parents to follow, but lots of fun and laughter.

We also had a book to read, Around the World حول العالم. One of the children was happy to present the story to the group and the parents helped with reading the words and exploring the sounds. The children even managed to write many words on their new scrapbooks dedicated to all the Arabic they will learn in 2018!

ALCASA Children's Group

ALCASA Children’s Group

Movie making was the hit of the day. The children formed teams, made props from plasticine, small toy animals and Lego pieces. They created their movie story using the vocabulary from the book we read, then they took pictures and recorded their voices to make their movie!

Being at the new location and all what it offers from space, music instruments, a playground, and even an Table Tennis room, made the event a full fun day. As every event in ALCASA ends with delicious shared bites, what a good end that was for those tired, hungry happy kids!

For booking and more info about upcoming ALCASA events follow the link.

Nadia Sbahi

ALCASA Arabic Dardasha, recipes sharing, all in Arabic!

Arabic dardasha February 2018

Arabic dardasha February 2018

On Sunday  afternoon (18/02/2018), we held our first  Arabic dardasha meetup. A keen group of Arabic speakers came together for dardasha – an informal chat in Arabic دَرْدَشَة. We usually meet once a month to have some fun, share our ideas and relate our experiences. The February meetup’s focus was recipes. The best part was that these recipes were accompanied by the dishes themselves! We had to describe the recipe in Arabic of course. If we reverted to English, we were given the ‘evil eye’. We learnt so many new words, and remembered ones we hadn’t used for a while.

Arabic dardasha February 2018

Arabic dardasha February 2018

As I have a fig tree in my garden,  I made fig jam with ginger مُرَبّى النين بالزَّنجبيل.  Bruno shared about a poppy seed-cake كَعْك ببّذور الخَشْخاش, Sue about scones كعكات الشاي,  Sudas about dates or walnuts filled pastries الكليجة بالتّمر أو الجوز  and Fayrouz about  shortbread biscuits غرَيْبة. I learnt some new words such as the words and expressions for ‘egg yolk’ صَفار البيَيْض, ‘a pinch of salt’ رَشَّة مِلْح,  ‘cover’ غَطّي and ‘jars’ مَراطبين. There was a lot of joking and then we enjoyed the sampling!! Doris served us delicious Lebanese coffee to accompany it all. Sometimes the English words slipped out, but the holder of the ‘evil eye’ was on the lookout.

The afternoon was an excellent opportunity to practise Arabic while enjoying each other’s company. I am looking forward to our next dardasha on Sunday 18/03/2018!

For booking and more info about upcoming ALCASA events follow the link.

Alison Banks

ALCASA Aflam: Ghadi



As part of our aflam program, ALCASA in partnership with the Lebanese Film Festival presented the Lebanese movie Ghadi at Mercury Cinema on Saturday 10/02/2018.

The 2018 ALCASA aflam attracted an awesome audience of 110 valued guests. Members of the audience mentioned they had already watched the movie many times but they still came to the ALCASA aflam, in order to enjoy the community spirit and to meet other Adelaideans interested in Arabic movies. We all enjoyed seeing each other for the first time in 2018, also we loved the discussion time before and after the movie.

Zainberi sweets, 2018 ALCASA aflam

Zainberi sweets, 2018 ALCASA aflam

A big thank you to ALCASA members and friends who provided the complementary tea and coffee and the home made sweets. We all enjoyed as well  the generous serves of healthy and nutritious delights courtesy of the newly established local business Zainberi.

Ghadi is a movie we will remember with a smile. Well crafted, with a message of tolerance and acceptance of others. It was selected in Lebanon as the Lebanese official Oscar nomination of the year. Ghadi, the movie, takes audiences on an emotional journey about a father’s love and dedication for his son. It is written and starred by Georges Khabbaz, a very talented artist: we adored the acting and the beautiful poetic script.

Please check the photos in our Facebook page Arabic In Adelaide.

Event supported by the Minister for Multicultural Affairs and DCSI SA

Fayrouz Ajaka


Posted by Arabic In Adelaide on Sunday, February 11, 2018


2017 End-Of-Year Celebration and ALCASA Monthly Meetings in Review

On Sunday 17/12/2017, we held an exceptional end-of-year celebration and hosted a music workshop with the  accomplished Syrian violinist Abdul Nanou. Abdul played some well known popular Arabic songs to the delight of the amazing audience who enjoyed singing along during the whole workshop.

During 2017,  ALCASA continued to thrive, thanks to the talented and dedicated members and friends who regularly attend the monthly meetings and occasional cultural events.

We are very proud of the young members of the ALCASA Children’s Group who held their 2017 graduation ceremony on Sunday. The Children enjoyed decorating their Arabic names and received their 2017 reports, as well as an Arabic book to read on their own at home. Some of the children have been attending with their dedicated parents since 2013. The devoted parents participants  plan and organise the program of the children’s monthly sessions. Many thanks to Hassan, Nadia, Ahmed, Rua, Zain, Dalal and Grace for their highly appreciated contribution.

A scrumptious afternoon tea was provided by members and their guests during the end-of-year celebration.  الضيافة (diyafa), hospitality is a well entrenched practice in the Arabic culture and we do enjoy putting in practice this tradition during the ALCASA social gatherings. In addition, the regular ALCASA events provide opportunities for adult learners of Arabic to meet native speakers, to read together in-house produced simple Arabic text (‘aamiyya and fus’ha) and to speak in the Arabic language. Heartfelt thanks to all regular participants with special thanks to the native speaker volunteers: Doris, Hanaa, Leyla, Sudas, Hayan, Ahmed, Dany and his mother Muna during her stay in Adelaide.

Since 2013, ALCASA have been hosting occasional cultural events and workshops aiming to enhance intercultural understanding among South Australian communities. Our events rely on local artists and presenters. We are grateful to benefit from the continuous support of the local  artists Ahmed Alkhalidi, Charlie Yarak, Rabih Aintarazi, Nayima Hassan and Zaffit SA. Additionally, we have been very lucky to enjoy in 2017 the talents of the calligrapher Safaa Alkhazraji and the musicians Alex Hadchiti, Zuhir Naji and Abdul Nanou.

Whereas we rely on membership fees to fund our main activities, we do acknowledge the continuous support of Multicultural SA, enabling ALCASA to hold certain cultural events. Sometimes local businesses contribute to our events either by holding cultural demonstration or in providing in kind donations, gifts and prizes. We are very thankful to such generosity and we do acknowledge donors during the related events, also on our social online media and in our website posts. Most ALCASA events have been held so far in various Adelaide city based venues, thanks to the gracious hospitality of the City Of Adelaide Community Centres and to Multicultural Communities Council of South Australia.

ALCASA events will remain open to anyone with interest in Arabic and we are always delighted to meet new members and friends. To explore ALCASA’s past events, please refer to earlier posts here. For a quick overview,  check below a selection of photos taken during the ALCASA monthly meetings held for the last few years.

The ALCASA monthly meetings will continue to be held on the third Sunday of the month in 2018. Many exciting activities and events are currently  in the planning stage. We look forward to continue providing a fun environment to communicate in Arabic and to share interesting aspects of the Arabic culture with the South Australian community.

Fayrouz Ajaka

Posted by Arabic In Adelaide on Sunday, May 15, 2016