The UK is my home, where my life is centred, though I don’t live here all year long. Since I have been back, there has been quite a few social obligations which I have been fulfilling. The social rounds of cocktails and gallery openings and dinner parties drive my partner mad. He has a savage loathing for eating canapés and making empty chitchats and would often opt not to go. Dinner parties? It puts him in a foul mood. Here’s a dinner party with a difference. If you are bored of the emptiness of sophisticated dinner parties, you might like to try this version instead x.


A month ago, during the Eid celebrations, I bought a Syrian family some meat. Since living in a refugee camp in Lebanon, Shatwa and her family have not had any decent food, yet a few short months ago, they were a normal family like yours and mine. Their three children were going to universities with a bright future ahead of them.  Their lives have been turned upside down since, though with the help of readers here, we have managed to raise enough money for one year of university fees for Ayda through the Humanwire aid programme.  You can read about the successful campaign for Ayda’s education here.

In the course of the campaign, I got to know Ayda’s family. This is her mother, Shatwa. Shatwa tries very hard to be cheerful to keep the family spirit up. I adore her.  Buying her family a small treat that cost £50 was something I really wanted to do for her for Eid.

For I believe in karma, or sowing positive seeds. No, I don’t expect any personal rewards from this deed of mine, but what I know will happen is that the seed I have sown will bear fruit in another time, another place. The fruit will benefit someone – be it a complete stranger, someone I have interacted with, my friends, my family members, or myself – and it doesn’t really matter who, because you know your good deed is growing somewhere, spreading, like a living tree. There is life beyond your immediacy, your house, your neighborhood, your country even, that needs your love. It’s not only about doing something for the people in your life only, but beyond. Host a dinner party with a difference….do try it 🙂

And for me, this is the best dinner party, though I wasn’t able to cook the meat for Shatwa. They invited a few neighbours over to share the precious meal.  I was told that the whole settlement was delighted when the meat arrived, and hey, it was only a few measly pounds!


“My family said a prayer for yours,” Shatwa told me through an interpreter. Yes, dear sister, I feel your good wishes and blessings like sunshine on my back, thank you ❤


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