My name is Donna and I am an American who has spent the first half of my life in West Virginia and then moved to South Carolina. Most of my Worldview was developed within a 500 mile radius. Then I crossed the Atlantic for the biggest adventure of a lifetime. I spent almost three years in Jerusalem before entering the Gaza Strip. I recognize my Jerusalem experience as a prerequisite for life in Gaza.

When I first came to Jerusalem, I saw Muslim mothers from Iraq (who were there for their children’s heart surgeries) on their prayer rugs frequently, to say the least. I really had no respect for their religion or beliefs—but, in my defense, the language barrier with the Kurdish mothers kept communication down to bare necessities for me. I was just busy doing the best I could. Meeting the Gaza mothers while I was at the hospital changed everything for me (because many women in Gaza speak English). As I began to know, love and admire these women, I began to pray for God to meet them on their prayer rug and honor them as they sought to know God. I realized that “knowing God” has been a lifelong process for me, and, I am still seeking to know Him more.

Leaving everything familiar and traveling half way across the world has challenged me to rethink everything I thought I knew. Just as some spices are delicious from the first taste, some take a little getting used to and others must be used sparingly and with caution—so are life’s experiences. Now in Gaza, I have found there is no better way to interact and build relationships with women in different cultures than with food and cooking together. My Middle-East experience can best be described as “hospitality unlimited”—the sharing of food, lives and family from a different point of view. I hope you will enjoy the adventure and humor of many things that sometimes get lost in translation. Some are light and funny, others challenge an arrogance which begs to be repented of—an arrogance that thinks MY way is the only RIGHT way. Walk and talk with me as I experience the Spice of Life in Gaza.

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