The Jordan Times
By Maram Kayed
AMMAN — Various embassies on Saturday showcased their most famous traditional food and goods their countries are known for and cultural folklore shows at the Annual Diplomatic Bazaar, held under the patronage of HRH Princess Basma, at Al Hussein Youth City.
An annual event, the bazaar serves as a fundraiser for the children of Mabarrat Um Al Hussein, an institute that provides education and shelter for Jordanian boys coming from troubled homes.
Founded by the late Her Majesty Queen Zein, the charity is now chaired by HRH Princess Basma, who attended the event along with her daughters and grandchildren.
A number of food booths, which showcased food and drinks prepared by members of the embassies or their spouses, were visited by people curious of other cultures′ food, or nationals who longed for their homeland′s cuisine.
The US booth, which had a barbeque stand offering hot dogs, saw six-year-old Jordanian twins Tuleen and Leen standing excitedly in line.
“We love hot dogs because they always eat them in American movies. We′re so excited to taste hotdogs like the ones on TV,” they rejoiced.
At the other end of the bazaar, Iraqi citizens residing in Jordan gathered around their embassy′s booth, nostalgic for their country′s specialities.
“We have been staying in Jordan for six years now, and I still cannot find man-o-salwa such as the ones back in Iraq. I was told those here are brought from Iraq itself so I immediately came,” said Aqmar Alrub, an Iraqi visitor eager for her country′s sweets.
Meanwhile, Switzerland displayed its known cheese and chocolates in ready-made packages instead of cooking or grilling booths. “We know it′s cliche, but people seem to love it! Swiss people are also coming around to buy cheese and chocolate because they can′t find them in local supermarkets,′ said Hans-Peter Lenz, Swiss ambassador to Jordan.
India sold handicrafts reflecting the country′s culture, where Indian Ambassador to Jordan Shubhdarshini Tripathi told The Jordan Times: “I′m very happy with the turnout. Last year, we had souvenirs and jewelry, but this year we took the opportunity to display another side of our culture.”
Despite calling themselves “a small embassy”, South Africa was among the top five fundraisers in previous years, offering flowers and wine. “We don′t have that big of a number here in Jordan, which is why we only focus on goods, not food, but we are very well-received,” said South African Ambassador to Jordan John Davis.
Local and foreign visitors told The Jordan Times they were joyful at having the chance to attend the culturally-filled bazaar, with Germans Kevin and Anna expressing their happiness to see a lively event with a remarkable presence from the diplomatic community.
Rahaf Saqer, a Jordanian architect, added: “I don′t have the chance to travel much, so I′m glad that the world is brought to me here. It′s as if I′ve been all over the world at once.”
In addition to the livelihood of the bazaar, attendees were also pleased that their money is being channeled into charity.
“We look to increase our participation every year more and more because we believe that this is all for a good cause, particularly for the benefit of the youth,” said Malaysian Ambassador to Jordan Jilid Bin Kuminding.