Thursday, June 18, 2009

Countdown from Doha

With an outside temperature in the high 40s and the hum of the air conditioners battling to keep the inside temperature in the comfort zone we and the rest of the Mazda group are in varying stages of packing and tidying our apartments ready for the end of the contract.
I've been skip diving to gather together cardboard boxes in which we can pack our extra belongings - the souvenirs, albums and clothing we have picked up in our seven months here!
Our packing goes in fits and starts as we wait to discover whether we have a new contract for the 2009-10 academic year. The rumours fly around amongst the other ATs, are relayed between companies and pepper our conversations and those we have with the teachers at our schools as they seek to find out if they will be able to call on our support next year.
Each day we look towards the office area for a trickle of white smoke that would suggest that we suspend complete packing, at least for a few more days. Unfortunately, the smoke has all been black.
Last night the Mazda group headed off to a local restaurant - Olive - for our own end of contract dinner.

The Mazda crew in high good spirits at Olive
Olive is a recent arrival on the Doha Clinic Road and boasts a mult-ethnic cuisine - Indian, Chinese and Middle Eastern. We were certainly able to cater for the vegetarians and the piscatorians as well as the omnivorians amongst us.

Olive and its "toot & run" takeaway next door neighbour on Doha Clinic Road.
The evening was a great success capped off with Frank suggesting that he would develop a Mazda logos which we could get printed onto T shirts which we could wear to our final Ramada Quiz night, as the Mazda Mafia, on the 29th. We're looking forward to see whatever he comes up with.
Next week is the official end of contract dinner at the Intercontinental Hotel which we are looking forward to. Not only for the chance to get together as the whole team but also in the expectation that John will be able to provide the white smoke from his table before the evening is over.
Shirley, Priscilla,Jan, Louise & Joy - The Doha Darlings
Joy and her friends, known as the Doha Darlings, are especially looking forward to the evening as they have been rehearsing a surprise musical number which will receive its first public performance there.
They have been meeting every Tuesday morning since May to practice the routine which Joy has written and choreographed. Many of the women have never done anything like this before which has added to their performance anticipation.

Layla receiving Joy's Camel Racetrack painting
for the "Summer at Home" exhibition

Joy has handed over her paintings to Layla at the Waqif Galleries ready for the "Summer at Home"exhibition which will be held over July-August. The exhibition is a collection of work from artists living and working in Qatar regardless of nationality and is designed as a focus for the souq over the summer months when people huddle under their air conditioners or head for the malls or the cafes of the souq to enjoy cooler air and conversation.
Our team, at Mohammed Ben Abdul Wahab, are preparing for our presentation of certificates and awards to the staff on Sunday. Our farewell gifts and thanks to the school and the staff in our final complete week there. We've designed a set of certificates that reflect our New Zealand origins - each watermarked with a distinctive New Zealand landscape that the staff can display once we've gone.
I'll finish off the blog with a few sketch notes describing a Doha Friday and plan for a final Doha blog next weekend.
Dust driven sand snakes curlicues across the road
swirls through windows
descends, grainy over books,
coats floors grit gray.
Doha dozes- dormant in prayer
minaret signalled to punctuate the day.

Koran calls across the aisles
supermarket Fridays reminders
that food and faith intertwine.

Abaya clad women sweep by
children trail behind,
swept up by scurrying maids,
dropped in trolleys,
wheeled through doors
deposited in traffic stopping vans
sale day remainders living still.

No comments: