The July ALCASA gathering offered a wonderful experience for all present and a special treat for the senses. We were entertained by the classic Arab sounds of Hayan on the “derbake” and had the joy of seeing the young children describe in Arabic how they made play-dough. We were also lucky enough to taste the sweet and savoury flavours of the Middle East with some delicious “harissa”, “ghraybe”, “labne” and “zaytoon” – new flavours for some and a taste of home for others. But the highlight of the session was feeling the rhythms of the group dancing the “dabke” to Hayan’s “derbake” beat.

In the advanced group, Richard shared historic photos from Cairo in Egypt where his Armenian grandparents lived . Richard’s grandfather was a well known photographer who owned a studio in the heart of Cairo. The photos were taken in the thirties to the fifties last century and presented a rich testimony of the urban design of Cairo as well as giving a glimpse on how Egyptian urban lifestyle evolved in that era. Richard kept the conversation flowing in Arabic during his presentation and responded to many questions while sharing what seemed to be an endless stream of photos that I am sure everyone would love to see again. It was fantastic to see some new faces in the advanced group and the number of articulate second language learners continues to surprise and impress the Association.

There were some new faces in the children’s group as well, with a lovely young family joining the other kids in learning and consolidating some basic vocabulary to do with every-day food items, It is rewarding to see young children engaging in the language and more importantly hearing Arabic spoken fluently by adult role models. The children made play-dough and the vocabulary was based on the basic ingredients and staples of flour, salt, water and oil; adding food colouring allowed them to consolidate their knowledge of colours in Arabic and they bravely gave a brief presentation to the whole group once they had finished.

The beginners group continued to expand their vocabulary and comprehension by exploring the family home and discussing words, phrases and questions associated with the topic. Congratulations to the beginners who continue to be persistent and dedicated to embracing the Arabic language and culture despite the challenges that obviously come with learning a new language.

After our 5th session, it is fantastic to see a large group of regular, familiar faces attending the sessions and a steady stream of new members signing up, with two new members this month. We feel privileged to be able to share our language and culture to the South Australian community and appreciate the support we have been given thus far, not only from our new and existing members, but also from the local SBS radio and the generous grant from the Multicultural Grants Scheme to support the establishment and growth of ALCASA.

We would love to see you, your friends and families at our next session in August.  You are very welcome to come along and join us, no matter what level of background, interest or experience you have. For more information contact