I met some amazing women in Jordan who are doing phenomenal things. Some of these women I got to speak with for a period of time, others, just long enough to snap their picture. Each of them lead lives different from mine and yet, in many ways, the same. Read on to meet a social entrepreneur, a leader of churches who serves refugees, and some Bedouin saleswomen I met in the mountains of Petra.
When I think of the Jordanian women I met, I immediately think first of sunshine, warm smiles, and a flower-encased patio in Amman.
I think of Maria Haddad, and her restaurant, Beit Sitti.
If you ever have the chance to go — and I highly recommend you go — surely you must visit Maria in her grandmother’s home. She and her sisters spent their youth there, learning how to cook traditional Arab food — the fragrant rice, the delicious roasted meat, the rainbow of vegetables that, though smaller than what we find here, are potent in flavor.
Non-GMO, Maria wants us to know. Less water.
When their grandmother died, the granddaughters wanted to keep her house open, so they started Beit Sitti, a place where you can go and learn how to cook this ambrosial food, which is almost more about communion and relationship than it is about the flavor.
Although the flavor is surely not lacking.
But what I love about Maria and Beit Sitti is that, like most everything I love, it has a purpose beyond just good food and good company. Beit Sitti intentionally hires women in the local community to teach the cooking classes and supports them — financially and emotionally.
If you know anything about me, you know nothing gets me going more than a business with a purpose. And if that purpose supports women, I’m all for it.
The food at Beit Sitti was amazing, but it was more about the experience. It’s located on a narrow, winding residential street somewhere in Amman, where neighbors from across the street come out on their patios and have conversations across the air.
In this case, Maria stopped what she was doing (giving us a presentation) to have a spontaneous conversation with her neighbor from across the street, yelling from patio to patio, who wanted to know who we all were. As soon as she found out, she immediately decided she wanted to come over and meet us — and she did. Here is the beautiful, vibrant Maria, who started to tell me about her initiative, until her neighbor came over and she got distracted. And it was wonderful.
Soon, the beautiful neighbor was giving a presentation of her own, and this is the welcoming nature of the Jordanian people (pardon the video quality — I’m no cinematographer):
If you want a preview of Beit Sitti before you hop on your Royal Jordanian flight, you can get on their mailing list and order some of their spices — and Maria will email you some of her favorite recipes.
Next up: Read about the woman serving refugees in Jordan