My first week of teaching is complete. Just got back from a swim in the hotel pool and am heading down to dinner soon. It is such a contradiction to see a woman by the pool (not a Muslim) whose breasts are falling out of the top of her bathing suit and then see the young women who attend the school - some covered in black from their head to beyond their feet, leaving only their eyes exposed.
The women have been opening up in their writing and I applaud their desire to learn and share ideas.
I would be the sun rising
to announce a new beginning,
to tell that there
is still a chance.
I like the sound of the pencil
which helps me express what I feel.
I would be the last tears
which fall from my mother's eyes.
Her first laugh after crying,
Tomorrow, I will be taking a desert tour with several other visitors to this area (hopefully not the woman by the pool), complete with an Arabian barbecue. I've been hankering for some real local food, since the hotel serves Mexican on Tuesday, Italian on Wednesday, Oriental on Thursday, etc. I can't wait to get away from this hotel!!
My mother wanted to see more pictures :) so am including a shot taken after the first evening's lecture. The woman seated next to me is Najoom and the guy standing in the dishdasha (loose men's robe that covers the whole body) is Kareem. They are the poets I'm working with. The men on either side of the sign are instructors and the man directly to the left side of the sign is also our good host, Jim.
I'm going to end with how confused I am about the bathrooms. Bidets are common here, but the women's rooms at the college come equipped with a narrow hose in each stall. Okay, I get it what it's supposed to be used for, but there is never any toilet paper (I bring my own now) and no paper towels. Just hand blowers by the sinks.
I do not want to sound disrespectful, but I can't figure it out, especially since they are wearing (what appear to be cumbersome and hot) abayas. And the floors are never wet. It is a mystery.