Al Amana Centre Winter Newsletter

This week, Al Amana Centre released our Winter Newsletter. Keep reading for my reflection or click here to view the whole newsletter.


Before arriving in Oman, I had only met Aaro and Justin for one hour over Skype. I knew very little about Al Amana Centre or what my role would be, and I was nervous. Thankfully, if there is one thing Omanis and Al Amana Centre do well, it is hospitality.

I have lived in North Carolina and Virginia for my whole life, and I can tell you that American Southerners pride themselves on the warmth of their “Southern Hospitality.” This ideal describes a place where people slow down, gather around home cooked meals, sit on the front porch, and say a lot of “yes ma’am” and “no sir.” Friends are treated like family, and pitchers of sweet tea disappear over unhurried conversation.

Replace sweet tea with kahwa and dates, and Oman brings an abundance of warmth to hospitality (and I’m not talking about the warm temperatures). I have been in Oman for three months now, and I’m repeatedly blown away by the kindness I receive from strangers. Last weekend I attended a storytelling event with mostly Omani participants. Due to scheduling conflicts, neither of my friends could go with me, so I went alone. I stepped through the door and cautiously sat on a pillow near three Omani women around my age. As soon as I introduced myself as new to Oman, they lit up and started asking me questions of my experiences so far. They asked about what I do here, so I told them about Al Amana Centre. Eagerly they responded by telling me how Oman is a great place to do this peacebuilding work. We shared stories of our experiences in other countries and here in Oman, and before the event had even officially started, we were exchanging WhatsApp numbers and making plans to go to a yoga class together.

By the end of the night, they had welcomed me, the stranger, so fully that I felt like I was at home in Virginia sitting around with old friends. It is through building friendships like these, both during AAC programs and beyond, that I feel like I am learning the most about Oman and peacebuilding. It is in the smiles and laughter, the focused listening and captivating storytelling, through which I am broadening my own understanding of tolerance and learning to practice Omani hospitality. I am only three months into my year in Oman, so I still have much to experience, but I am thankful that this holiday season Oman is starting to feel a lot like home. 



4 thoughts on “Al Amana Centre Winter Newsletter

  1. Emma, so nice to hear from you again. I can tell things are going well for you and I am delighted. You have found a home away from home and new friends. With your personality and that beautiful smile you make friends easily. All is well here and the breakfast group continues to meet each Tuesday to solvrythe world’s problems. I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happiesg of New Years at your new home. You are still In my prayers. The best to you Emma, love hearing from you. Jo Tyler. Have a happy day! It is very cold here. Love you.

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  2. Emma, you are an inspiration to me and I’m sure all who read your reflections. I hope this Christmas Season will be one of importance in your memoirs! I love you sweetly!! Aunt Sally

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  3. Emma, your mom gave me the link to your blog. I didn’t realize you were in Oman until your smiling face showed up on the big screen at Dio of VA convention. I stood up and yelled “Hey I know her!” What an exciting opportunity you have. I’m sure it will change your life and how you experience God in the world. Also, mom mentioned you are in the young priest initiative. Blessings with that journey and I hope it is proving to be a useful spiritual experience for you. Lastly, you’re a very good writer. Blessings, Reverend Stephen Shepherd.

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