Two of my favorite people are Safa Jneidi an Iad Alati, a Syrian couple with two delightful little girls. This is their story:
For 400 years the Alati family textile and clothing store served customers in the world famous La Medina Souq in Aleppo. Then the bombing started. Iad Alati and his pregnant wife Safa Jnedi fled with their baby to Turkey as their store was reduced to rubble.
In Turkey, Iad did whatever work he could find while Safa learned to speak enough Turkish to translate for refugees needing medical help. Eventually, Iad was able to open a clothing and textile store in Istanbul, with a long time friend. Still, at that time their refugee status prevented them getting passports for the children, or even green cards in Turkey. The UN helped them to get the paperwork they needed to come to the U.S. They arrived in Chicago the day before the president closed U.S. boarders to all Syrians.
They arrived speaking not a word of English. Once again, they had to start over. “We did it in Turkey,” Iad said. “We can do it again.”
Today, Iad and Safa can be seen with their food cart--Iad's Syrian Grill-- serving delicious Syrian gyros, yalangi food wrapped in grape leaves), and grilled meats on the streets of Vashon, WA. Their dream of having their own food truck is becoming a reality, the next step on the way to having their own restaurant.
Here are two bouquets for Iad and Safa, to celebrate Iad's Syrian Grill in America!
Inspired by the places where land meets water, and by stories.