4 Ramadans in

Coming from multi-cultural TnT, I knew about Ramadan but it had never impacted my life in the way it does living out in the gulf.  Here, I am hyper aware as my everyday life is affected.  Last year I escaped to the UK after 1 week. This year I’m caught up in the fiasco that is the British Passport service so don’t think I’ll be leaving the peninsula any time  soon.

In all cultures, knowledge is assumed and lack of knowledge is punished, so to fill this probable lacuna, I signposted my staff to the following site –  Doha News guide Ramadan and informed them of the salient points:

  • Non Muslim staff working hours remain 7-3
  • Muslim staff working hours 8-1 – any work outside these hours will be treated as overtime and as such has to be agreed in advance
  • No drinking, eating, chewing of gum in public space including desk and inside your car
  • Kitchens on the fourth floor are available for use but best to avoid foods that need re-heating as the smell travels
  • Aides are not allowed to make drinks
  • Female staff to be more conscious of dressing appropriately – personally I suggest trousers, tops with sleeves – and have a scarf or jacket to hand

Every year, there is a news report of someone falling foul of the rules around Ramadan.

Have you ever been tripped up by a foreign culture?




What a difference a day makes 2

I have all sorts of issues with the church in general and specifically with practice here but I do see it as our responsibility to take the kids to church so I do it, even if at times I do it grudgingly. The temptation to just do away with going to church was so great and Evosoccer seemed to present the perfect opportunity.

However, I knew what I had to do – we swapped days – soccer on Friday and church on Saturday. Fewer people attend on Saturday so it is calmer and more reverential. I’m actually enjoying going to Mass for the first time since getting here.

Then we reconnect with a couple we met when we first came. The lady has been teaching catechism for the last year. When I shared with her some of my concerns , she encouraged me to join the catechism team stating that some of the leaders know they need new blood to dilute the stranglehold that some groups have on church affairs.

And wonders of wonders, I’m considering it.

Has an ‘unthinkable’ decision led to an unexpected but welcome turn of events?






What a difference a day makes…

One of my favourite jazz standards – interpreted by Dinah, Sarah or Nina and so true for any number of circumstances…

Before the autumn term last  year, Evosoccer decided to stream their classes – giving them names of big cats – Lions as king of the field, followed by tigers, cheetahs, etc, . They asked parents to do an initial assessment but stated that the final decision would be their responsibility.

Kwame is excellent but so are several others. To avoid the shame of being demoted, I plumped for tigers, I like the animal and the times of the classes accommodated us attending church on a Friday morning.

Within a couple of weeks, we were asked to move to Lions on Fridays at 8:00 am and Mondays at 4:45pm.  I pleaded, as did other parents asked to move, to maintain our Saturday am session.

Fast forward to February and Evosoccer had further refined their streaming and the elite Lions were asked to train on Mondays at 3:45 and Friday at 8:00 am. The email was worded to ensure maximum guilt that you are hurting your child’s chances of being the future World Cup hope of ‘fill in the country of your choice/origin’.

I allowed myself to ask the unthinkable  – what if we did not go to church on Friday but did soccer instead?

What’s your unthinkable question?