THE PAVILIONS PHUKET EPL Prediction Competition 2018-2019 Kata Rocks
Login | Create Account Poll Currency Weather Facebook Youtube Search

The sweet smell of success

JORDAN: Aromas of orange blossom, almond and coconut waft from the northern Jordan shop of Mazen Obeido, a 42-year-old Syrian who never imagined he would prosper again far from home.

culturedeathmilitaryimmigration
By AFP

Sunday 12 November 2017, 03:00PM


Men work at a shop in the northern Jordanian town of Irbid selling traditional Syrian sweets, that is owned by Syrian refugee Mazen Obeido who fled the conflict in his homeland. Photo: Khalil Mazraawi / AFP

Men work at a shop in the northern Jordanian town of Irbid selling traditional Syrian sweets, that is owned by Syrian refugee Mazen Obeido who fled the conflict in his homeland. Photo: Khalil Mazraawi / AFP

“In Damascus I had several shops and everything was fine, but a year after the outbreak of the war, I left everything behind,” said the master pastry chef and father of three who said he no longer felt safe in his home country.

So he decided to start again from scratch and hired a property in Irbid north of Amman, half of which became his kitchen and the other half the shop.

Around 200,000 refugees from Syria now live in the town 89 kilometres north of the capital.

Jordan hosts about 650,000 people who have fled from neighbouring Syria because of the conflict that erupted there in 2011, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The authorities in Amman say the number is double that – at 1.3 million.

According to the UNHCR, more than 80% of Syrian refugees in Jordan live below the poverty line.

“I worked night and day without stop,” said Obeido, whose efforts have paid off and meant he could again expand.

“I opened a second shop, then a third, a fourth and then a fifth,” he said, proud to continue a trade that was passed down from father to son.

Sesame cakes, baklava, semolina cakes sprinkled with pistachios or traditional ice-cream – he makes and sells in Jordan the same products that used to be displayed on large trays in his stores in Syria.

There, “Jordanians came in their dozens to my shops. At weekends, they bought up 90% of my pastries which were much cheaper than in Jordan,” he recalled.

Syria was once a gourmet’s paradise, with its barazek – small biscuits sprinkled with pistachio and sesame seeds – its mabrouma baklava rolls and its cheese sweets.

Central Phuket

In his bakeries and shops where Obeido employs around 100 people, mostly Syrians, his delicacies are created with special implements from his homeland.

“In order to make high-quality Damascus sweets, you need special tools from Syria,” Obeido said.

“Bringing them to Jordan by air cost a lot, but the results are incredible.”

He is delighted that many compatriots who have learned the trade thanks to his help have gone into business outside Jordan by opening pastry shops in Turkey, France, Germany and as far away as Canada and the United States.

Recalling the proverb that it is better to teach someone how to fish rather than give him a fish, Obeido said he wants to help his fellow Syrians, hundreds of thousands of whom have fled the war.

“I want to teach them the trade so they can live in dignity – I want them to learn how to fish for themselves,” he said.

With the help of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Obeido has begun free training sessions for the most vulnerable refugees, such as widows and girls with no means of support.

“I love my work – the smells here are a constant reminder of my country,” said 22-year-old Haifa al-Ali from Aleppo, Syria’s one-time commercial capital.

A nurse, she underwent three months’ training before joining one of Obeido’s pastry kitchens.

Even though pastries prepared in Jordan are a reminder of home, “they taste different at home in Syria, with family and friends,” said teacher and mother of three Arwa Nabulsi, summing up the frustration felt by her compatriots forced into exile.

 

 

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

Comments Here:
Comments Left:
# Characters
Username:
Password:
E-mail:
Security:

Be the first to comment.

Have a news tip-off? Click here

 

Phuket community
Kata Rocks ends the use of plastic straws

I am sorry hinny,but where did i defend Thailand and his environmental problems in my comments? I wa...(Read More)


Australia kills four sharks after tourist attacks

So 4 poor sharks die for nothing. About the same as police going and shooting 4 street dogs after a...(Read More)


Kata Rocks ends the use of plastic straws

So your argument is Singapore is less considerate towards the environment than Thailand as they use ...(Read More)


Final preparations being made to raise ’Phoenix’

"Can't wait until the news of the final salvage is posted on here or why needing a daily up...(Read More)


Japanese tourist, 62, drowns at Karon Beach

Yeah...lifeguards at Karon are pathetic...lazy and not worthy of the job they hold. Just beach bums ...(Read More)


Final preparations being made to raise ’Phoenix’

Can't wait until the news of the final salvage is posted on here or why needing a daily update o...(Read More)


Kata Rocks ends the use of plastic straws

But if they are so environmentally aware hinny,how come they still using plastic straws at all in Si...(Read More)


Final preparations being made to raise ’Phoenix’

"Kurt why you dont just go there and find it out by yourself" what is wrong with kurt aski...(Read More)


Police arrest three drug suspects on the same Phuket Town street

The problem with any Thai "mafia" is they are often protected by high level officials....(Read More)


Police arrest three drug suspects on the same Phuket Town street

"Are people really thinking arresting drug-lords would change something" makes a lot more ...(Read More)


 

Melbourne Cup 2018