Though the United Church regularly hosts events, there was something different in the air on Friday night. The smell of lentils, rice, caramelized onions, sliced pine nuts and cumin, filled the basement of the eighty year old church on Mackenzie Avenue.
Those ingredients were part of Sam Aiden’s childhood, who arrived in Revelstoke from Lebanon in December, and cooked a traditional Syrian dish called mujadara for about 30 people who attended a potluck organized by Revelstoke for Refugees. The dish is regularly prepared for large gatherings in Syria.
Though Aiden is the star of the evening, he is humble. After cooking for the about 30 people in attendance, he also does the dishes. He says it makes him happy just to be able to share some of his culture with those there.
“It just makes me happy to be able to share,” says Aiden with a cheerful smirk as he washes dishes.
The potluck was organized by Revelstoke for Refugees, who were responsible for helping organize the logistics of Sam’s arrival in Canada. Brodie Johnson, a member of the Revelstoke for Refugees standing committee, says the evening was about officially welcoming Aiden to Revelstoke.
“We just really wanted to put on an event to officially welcome Sam to the community and give folks an opportunity to meet Sam who may not have had the chance,” says Johnson.
Aiden regularly volunteers his time at the United Church’s soup and a smile on Mondays.