BECKLEY - Sawsan Galal and Roda Haddadin have been friends for years. The
pair is from the Middle East, and both settled in Beckley for their
"He was very well known for his job, and he
enjoyed the community," Galal said about her late husband. "He liked the
small town atmosphere."
Galal and Haddadin have spent most of their lives in the United
States -- one in Massachusetts and the other in Oregon. Both enjoy the
hometown feeling in southern West Virginia.
"West Virginia made
you feel welcome, and I like that because that's how we were raised,"
Galal told WOAY. "You know, hospitality is very important, so when you
have hospitable people, it makes you feel comfortable being that way
Haddadin has two young children.
"It's a great place to raise
kids," she said. "How you know everybody -- you kind of get to know
everybody in the community. We really enjoy that for us and for the
Haddadin is a Jordanian Christian. She's raising her two children to respect all cultures.
very proud of both countries and both cultures," Haddadin said. "In
fact, I'm really excited for my children to explore different cultures
-- not just Jordan."
"You don't want to be too much outside
because we are in America, and we live an American life, and we're very
greatful for all God had to offer us from here and our countries," she
Galal is a Muslim from Egypt. The women meet others from the Middle East and bond over their shared culture.
community was very important to us," Galal said. "We have friends here
from all over the Middle East, and it's very nice to have people from
Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Palestine. It's nice to have the
community for us."
The shared Arabic language, family and native food play a big role in Middle Eastern culture.
house was always open to people, and the meal is the most important
thing," Galal said. "That's how you show your friendship to people, and
in our culture, really when you have eaten together, it sort of binds
you with that person."