Where has the time disappeared to?I can't believe that I last updated the blog at the beginning of last month!!
I know I started with good intent to write up the blog every fortnight but a month plus is getting ridiculous.
This past month has been busy, a convenient excuse,but for some reason January-February have been busy months at work with the prospect of the two week semester break this month as an incentive to keep one's nose to the grind-stone.
The Advisory work has seen us pushing ourselves to deliver the training and programmes in the school more intensively as the staff are willing to experiment and try activities to initiate the reforms in education. Our team has,according to our SMA, achieved more in this semester than they could last year... this is probably because the administration of our school is keen to see the programmes develop and the students succeed and therefore actively encourages the staff to contribute to the work we are doing.
Cognition also welcomed the NZ Debating team to Qatar in February when they arrived to take part in the Qatar hosted International Schools Debating competition. As of writing the NZ team is running fourth in the competition according to The Peninsula newspaper which seems to be the only paper comprehensively reporting on the debating competition.
We also had some good news when after the January Doha Debates recording session one of the boys from our school was contacted and invited to join the BBC, Qatar Foundation and the Doha Debate organisation in New Delhi to observe and,maybe, participate in the outside debate at St.Stephens College in February. The boy was selected on the basis of his confidence and articulateness when he challenged the guest debaters at the recording. We are looking forward to both hearing of his experiences and,perhaps, seeing him on screen when the debate is shown in March.
As well we have had a series of outside workshops to attend on organising the Library, developing further policies and operating procedures for the LRC (Library) and others informing us about the training programmes Cognition has been running this year that will have an impact on our activities in the schools.
On more personal fronts: These past months have seen the long lines of migratory birds that are a feature of the Gulf winter stretching across the early morning and evening skies. These birds appear from the Northern winters into the warmth of the Gulf each year and settle onto the mangroves and the coastal waters of Qatar and in formation each day ribbon themselves in the grey sandfilled air as they head to and from their roosting areas. As I sit at the traffic lights on my way to work at 6.00 every morning I watch these lines pass across the roof tops for minutesat a time.
We were informed, when we went out to the International Falconry competition in the desert beyond Al Khor, that these lines of migratory birds become the prey for the trained falcons the local Falconry Association members train and use.
The Falconry competition was held out in the open space of the desert, 70 kilometres from Doha, with participants from other Gulf states exhibiting the power of their birds in a series of events that we could see, as specks on the desert floor, from our vantage point in the grandstand and exhibition area the Association had built for the event. We were able to see some of the action through the telephoto lenses on our cameras.
The same day we journeyed out to the Falcons the local paper carried a story that a local camel breeder had turned down an offer of QR25 million for one of his animals by another enthusiast fromthe UAE. The camel owner said that he would not be willing to part with a symbol of Qatari heritage for any amount of money.
So it is now mid semester break so Joy and I are off to Turkey on Saturday for 10 days to complete the tour we'd promised ourselves 12 years ago when we first embarked on our overseas travel adventures. That trip will be the subject of our next blog.