Peace and Chocolate

سلام

I don’t know how up to date on the happenings of Syria you are, but you’re probably as much “in the know” as I am. I know they’re fighting some kind of war and pretty much no one is safe. People have fled the country for their safety in the thousands. Tens of thousands. Millions. In 2016, the U.N. identified 13.5 million Syrians requiring humanitarian assistance. Six million of them are internally displaced and about five million are refugees outside of Syria. In that year 46,700 were admitted to Canada.

This year, one of those families came to our town. They fled to Lebanon seven years ago and lived there until a small group in our town rallied to get them here. The group even fund raised so the family would have enough money to live for a year since the family won’t be allowed any government assistance.

I don’t know about you, but I would have serious trouble if I suddenly found myself in Syria. Not because of the fighting, but because I don’t speak a word of Arabic. Have you seen how Arabic is written? Take a look at those squiggles at the top of this post. Arabic is written from right to left. Books are read front to back. You might as well teach me to flap my arms and fly away.

This family has been very eager to learn. While I would just hide in my house and hope no one noticed me, this family wants to learn. DW has been to their house nearly every day over the last week and a half to talk to them and help them and teach them. I have gone, too, but since I’m still teaching I don’t get to go as often. The boys have joined us. The family has three children, all around our kid’s ages. The great thing about kids playing is they often don’t need words. Play just happens. With the help of DW and a few other significant others, they have come a long way in just 2 weeks. They still have many miles to go, but their determination should see them there. We laugh with them when they tell us we’re teaching them English and they’re teaching us Arabic!

Anyway, a couple years ago a Syrian family moved to a town near us. Turns out the family had a thriving chocolate business in Syria. Or, at least they did until their factory was bombed. They moved here and soon set up a small baby barn to create some chocolate. Peace By Chocolate. Word spread quickly and they were eventually recognized by the Prime Minister. That’s how good their chocolate is. Needless to say, their business is thriving again. Just recently they created a chocolate bar. I know, big deal, right? How many chocolate bars are there in the world already? These chocolate bar wrappers have one word on them. One of those words is the squiggles that are at the top of this post.

Paix. Wantaqo’ti. ਸ਼ਾਂਤੀ سلام

French. Mi’kmaq. Punjabi. Arabic.

Peace. In our area of Canadaland these four languages are prominent and Peace By Chocolate is proving they are here for everyone. If we can all get along here, why can’t it happen all over the world, too?

You can visit them at peacebychocolate.ca. To my knowledge, they ship world wide. It’s worth every bite.