שלום שוב לכולם, לאחרונה הזדמן לי הכבוד להשתתף בפרויקט עיתון “קול לפליט”- The Refugee Voice (עכשיו מצורף לעיתון הארץ). המאמר מתרכז באזור נווה שאנן דרך עדשה קולינרית. כבר מזמן שנווה שאנן וסביבתה קוסמים לי. לעניות דעתי, בדיוק באזורים כאלה, נמדדת מטרופולין, בשכונות המיעוטים, בשוליים ובאזורים השונים בתכלית ממרכז העיר. אלו בדיוק המקומות שמעניקים אופי ועומק, כמו שני צבעי עיניים על פנים יפות. כתושבי העיר, נווה שאנן וסביבתה הן בדיוק מסוג האזורים המהווים ברומטר מדויק על רמת הפתיחות והנאורות שלנו כעיר מודרנית, על הרצון שלנו להיות חברה צבעונית, על קבלת האחר ועל הביטחון שלנו בעצמנו ובזהות שלנו.
התרחקתי בכוונת תחילה מלהתעמק בוויכוח הפוליטי המתלהט לאחרונה סביב הנושא. אני חלילה לא ממעיט בסיכונים הביטחוניים ובכובד הנושא והבעיות הטכניות הרבות המצריכות פתרונות מדיניים פרקטיים ונאותים. כאן, אני מעדיף להתמקד בפן האנושי, במקום בו המילים “הם” ו”אנחנו” מאבדים משמעות, ולו לרגע קצר. כשכמה אנשים, מכול מיני קצוות בעולם מתיישבים לארוחה טובה, סביב שולחן אחד, זו תמיד סיבה לתקווה גדולה .
העיתון מתורגם ל-4 שפות, אני בחרתי לכתוב הגרסה באנגלית. אז הנה הגרסה שלי למסע קצר אך מרתק לעומקי העולם שמתקיים במקביל אלינו, ממש מעבר למפתן הדלת שלנו, אך עדיין לא ממש העזנו לחקור.

מאכלים אפריקאיים אותנטיים - מל ומישל

שפית אורגינאלית מאפריקה - מל ומישל

מודעות לסרטים ומופעים זרים - מל ומישל

It was early evening in south Tel Aviv. My wife Anat and I were searching for parking, just outside the old central bus station in Neveh She’anan.
The sun was slowly setting behind the gray buildings, as we passed by Levinsky Garden. It really doesn’t call for much sensitivity to notice that you are stepping into another world, almost a parallel universe, which exists just within and yet light-years away, from our perception. Any familiarities of Tel- Aviv gradually fade away, as the sounds, smells and writings shift deeply into the African continent.
We gradually gathered at the stern of the promenade. When our group was fully assembled we began our brief, yet penetrating journey, into the depths of a unique and fascinating world.
The virtual lines which divide the city from its foreign workers, which have settled in its outskirts, couldn’t be more evident. As one crosses these lines, reality begins to seem more perplexing, as the assumptions of “us” and “they” begin crumble. The word “we” is a much more complex and emotionally charged concept to deal with, but one we all must eventually wake up to.
….After our Sudanese experience, we continued down the promenade, which had shifted its lighting from the early evening sunset to the glow of the streetlights. The multiple make-shift eateries and bars were full of mostly young men, greeting each other with warm brotherly hugs, after a long and probably difficult day.
We were most graciously invited for dinner by the charming and welcoming Kariuki family, which live in an apartment building, parallel to the promenade.
As we climbed up the staircase, I was enveloped by the rich smells of African spice, as neighbors entered their homes for supper.
We finally reached the top floor, where we were warmly greeted by Martha and her daughters.
As we entered the small and humble living room, the kindness and genuine welcoming of the Kariukis was immediately felt, as we all sank into a long conversation about food and cooking.
As a cook, it seemed Martha and I could have spent days chatting about spices, vegetables and cooking methods.
As we all sat in Martha’s living room and spoke about food, work and life in general, it became increasingly evident what a vibrant and captivating presence she has.
With much pride, Martha told us about the Ungali she was making, a staple food in Kenya and throughout East Africa, originally made by whisking maize into boiled water, although she somewhat regrettably substitutes with semolina. “I miss many of the flavors from back home”, she told me, with a longing in her eyes.
Martha has been in Israel for over 10 years and has built a home here, yet her yearning to touch her roots is wonderfully expressed through her impeccable cooking. She was repeatedly almost apologetic regarding the simplicity of Kenyan cuisine.
Is it that simple? Maybe, but as a cook, let me tell you that the combination of refinement and emotion in this woman’s cooking could easily justify her food being served in a fine Kenyan Cuisine establishment.
The savory semolina cake was flipped over onto a plate and colorfully served with an array of condiments; a deep-red beef stew, baked fish, steamed chard leaves and the best sautéed cabbage I have ever tasted. I almost forgot the perfect glass of chilled yoghurt that was served later on, which Martha was shocked to find that Daniel; our appointed cameraman had deliberately poured into his plate. Martha’s dramatic expression to this sight was evident of no less then sheer gastronomic heresy. Rest assured though that he was swiftly forgiven.
Dinner at the Kariukis was a paradoxical experience, both enriching and humbling, festive yet tainted by hardship. I find it hard to express how thankful I am to this wonderful family, for their generosity and for opening the door to their home and to their heart.
After our lengthy discussion on food, cooking and life, Martha and I came to the perfect conclusion of this whole experience; We all have very different ways of doing the exact same things.
…We all decided it wasn’t quite enough to call it a day. As we strolled down the street, we wondered into an obscured Eritrean bar, hidden behind an alleyway.

שאנן סטריט בפעולה - מל ומישלAs we entered, I was immediately drawn in by the perfume- aroma of shisha (water- pipes). As we scuffled around for a place to sit, in the corner of my sight, I saw a familiar face smiling towards me.
It was A, a native Eritrean whom I once worked with. He was sitting with friends, so I offered we all sit together. We ordered a few Ethiopian beers, which I was familiarized with a couple of weeks prior, when I asked him to take me to an Eritrean eatery.
It’s a dark beer, on the sweet side and it was the perfect accompaniment with the apple shisha we ordered from the waitress, which seemed to be the only female in the room. We were joking about how this is what a world without women would look like: a bunch of guys sitting around in purple fluorescents, chucking beers, smoking pipes and watching Rambo movies on big-screens.
Jokes aside, it was heartwarming to see how these young men band together in a foreign land, naturally attempting to make a home away from home, in any way they can. They set up businesses, which are much needed sanctuaries from a world which has them side-lined and secluded.
I see them all as heroes, graciously surviving and smiling towards a reality which hasn’t always smiled back. It was a privilege joining them for a beer and a smoke, the little bridge required to cross over worlds apart.