For most of November and a bit of December, I had the pleasure of my mother’s company, cooking and chatting. Among many things, I was able to view Qatar anew. Her visit made me appreciate my very comfortable living quarters, my quick work commute (if I leave the house at 6:15, I can do it in 15-20 minutes), relatively short work day (7-2, I have an hour off for breast feeding for a year and I milk it – pun intended!) and my house help. Also, Kwame’s wonderful life: accessing excellent education, a variety of after school activities and attending birthday parties where Raúl (ex Real Madrid star) makes a guest appearance and plays for 45 minutes with the birthday guy and his pals.
It also had me reflecting on what repatriation to the UK would mean. I think I could manage the smaller house, the commute and the lack of house help. However, work is the difficult thing. Here, there is so much investment in healthcare that costs rarely figure in my daily discussions with clinicians. In the UK my job was all about trimming the fat, now there isn’t any fat left but my colleagues still have to cut costs. Despite not being a clinician, I joined the health service to help make healthcare more accessible, especially for those who are less empowered and often they share my ethnicity. Recent austerity measures will mean the less fortunate will be worse off.
Like many people, at this time of year, I am inclined to a mixture of excitement and introspection due to Christmas and New Year. Here, celebrations for these are muted in the first few weeks of December, due to National Day on 18 December. This year like last there’s been discussions on whether it is a celebration for nationals only or for nationals and ex-pats. I’ll refrain from joining the fray.
Instead, I choose to be challenged by the words of the prophet Jeremiah, ancient dubmaster who told his people to ‘cease and settle’, when they were slaves in Babylon (about 50 miles south of modern day Baghdad, Iraq) :
‘Stop complaining! Change your attitude!
You’re not going anywhere, anytime soon.
Settle down: build houses, plant gardens, get married and have children and grandchildren.
The Lord knows where you are, He sent you there!
Pray for the city’s peace and prosperity because when it prospers, you will also prosper.’
Paraphrase of Jer 29:5-7
Are you praying for or complaining about the city in which you find yourself?