Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Eid and National Day

I'm off, got 10 days holiday with only one leave day used, a much needed break after some stressful weeks. Eid Al Hada begins tomorrow, a time of celebration here. The parks have been decked out as have the palms and roundabouts. There are festivities in the air, festivities and celebration at school.

I got to join in on Tuesday, so many photo opportunities but as I am new to the school I didn't bring my camera. I also wouldn't post any of the photos. Children in national dress, children in fancy gowns, faces painted and henna applied, boys with wooden guns and walking sticks twirling and throwing just as they have seen their fathers, grandfathers, uncles, cousins and older siblings do. Excellent photos but ones needing permissions I don't have.

There have been many things that have impressed me this week; the national fervor and excitement about these celebrations, especially with the children; the conversations with the children, teachers and sometimes parents about the celebrations; the inclusion of us westerners in the celebrations; the relaxed and easy times; the environment being prepared. I can only liken it to the week before Christmas in NZ.

I was watching some girls having henna applied, telling their teachers that they wanted full arms done not just their hands. Mashallah, remark the teachers as they share this with others, laughing. Good natured, smiling banter respecting and enjoying the children. I was delighted when the teacher asked if I wanted henna. Oh, yes please I smiled. The others laughed and told me to go to the other teacher as she was better, more laughter as they called out to her and I joined her queue.

I sat quietly as the henna was quickly applied in a very cool pattern up my arm, down onto my hand and fingers. The henna dries into a crust after an hour or so and starts to flake off, I was keen to see the result so helped it a little. Since yesterday the colour has darkened and the pattern looks amazing. I got comments when I arrived at school this morning, got comments from Emirati ladies as I brought a smaller suitcase to travel with at Megamart. All smiles and mashallahs.

So now I'm sitting resting before packing. I have new Merrills, new jeans, a new case to put them in. I'm so excited as are my travel companions. It's an early start tomorrow, leaving home about 3.30am to get to Sharjah in time to fly, then onto Kathmandu for a few days, then up to Pokera to the mountains to go trekking. I can't wait. Mmmm small hitch, how exactly do I get to Sharjah Airport? Might have to make a few calls to check, tried a couple of people so far to no avail. I will make it, inshallah.

Watch this space for photos and stories when I return, it will be quiet for a week or so.

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