Saturday, April 9, 2016

Aromas, food, and good works

I am in Detroit, Michigan to visit friends for the weekend. It is cold and snowy. It is April. Cruel April. Boston is 20 degrees warmer.

However, the aromas, music, and foods from the Middle East are abundant here in Detroit. Very many memories were ignited from the spices and foods we sampled. Arabic words easily came out of my mouth that I have not heard nor spoken in two years. Songs that I learned in Jordan percolated to the surface of my consciousness. In one of the markets, as I serenaded one shopkeeper, she asked me, "were you born in the Middle East?" What a great compliment.

I toured the Chaldean Community Foundation in Sterling Heights and I was very proud of their extensive outreach work with immigrants and refugees. They now have a modern state-of-the art facility and they procure relocation, funding, job placement, and basic education for the Chaldean (Iraqi) people. Their services are fairly extensive and it is apparent they have reached deep into the community to become a resource that integrates people well into the American culture. The value-based services help people with language difficulties learn enough skills to become entrepreneurs or to find employment that gets them launched in the area.

Today at the Eastern Market, I was able to buy spices and teas that are prevalent in the Middle East. Just walking into the markets made me want to book at flight back to Jordan. People say that Jordan is the most advanced, tolerant Arab nation in the Middle East now. It is remarkable how this desert kingdom has ascended into great relevancy.

Visiting friends from theology studies is excellent. Seeing their families and friends is endearing. Watching Detroit prosper after years of decline is exciting. Almost monthly, the city is engineering great change within the city limits and many new investors are making sound decisions in favor of Detroit.

Off to a Catholic Charities event tonight. Back to Boston tomorrow. A good visit in all.