كلي كلي — Eat! Eat!
I will never forget this phrase. Although I didn’t learn how to speak Arabic during my 7-8 months in Gaza, I learned كلي كلي.
If you are Palestinian, I can hear you chuckling now. 🙂
Nearly every family I met in Gaza invited me home to share a meal. I’m convinced that food is the currency for building cultural bridges between people. And if I’m right about that, then the Palestinians are master bridge builders.
I’ve eaten delicious meals in the homes of university academics, farmers, merchants, students, unemployed laborers, and many others. Yesterday, a man I had met only the day before at a conference jumped out of his car when he saw me walking down the street and invited me home to meet his family and share a meal.
If I was able to accept every invitation that was extended to me, I would certainly be returning home many pounds heavier.
Every mother urged me to take a second and third helping. كلي كلي Eat! Eat!
I have a good feeling in my heart now when I say كلي كلي out loud because it symbolizes for me the generosity of spirit that everyone extended to me in Gaza.