“Customs form us all, our thoughts, our morals, our most fixed beliefs; are consequences of our place of birth.” Aaron Hill
Once L-got to the office and Mohammad had loaded everything up, we went to the hotel where the training was scheduled. The staff there were incredibly accommodating, moving heavy tables, helping put things on the walls, checking the LCD projector and laptop hook up, and bringing in extra flip chart easels and paper, taping down wires, etc.
Maha was there with her little girls, Miriam and Sarah- I think 5 and 3. They helped put items on the tables and put up the kites. I had to split up what I’d packed to make sure that we would have enough for both classes. I’m glad that I always pack more than I need, but even so there will not be everything for everyone in the class by any means.
The training site is in a kind of ballroom, which meant that there really wasn’t a long wall on which to put my agenda map. We put it up on a far wall, but no one was going to be able to see it.
The ultimate solution was to get three double dividers made of wood and tape the agenda map on four places where the room dividers created a V. It’s far from perfect but much better than the alternative.
Then I had to write the learning objectives for all five days on flip charts (the participants will be putting stickers next to the objectives of greatest significance to them), which took some time. Miriam and Sarah had a ball with the extra Koosh balls and other items in one of the suitcases, making lines and then designs. At one point, Miriam took out the balloons I use on the 4th day so she could count them as she put them back in. Miriam was very helpful (Sarah not so much..) but they are absolutely adorable and were incredibly patient.
It was 7:30 p.m.by the time we were done and L- took me to Rainbow Street to eat sharma, which is chopped chicken or meat (probably lamb or goat) mixed with spices and placed in a rolled flat bread. I ate everything because I was very hungry, but it definitely was not my favorite dish. I really missed having a salad, which I’ll have to eat tomorrow for dinner.
We had a long chat. She is 28, is divorced and has an 11 year old. As a divorced woman, she is not looked on with favor. She has no option to date so either she gets married or continues to live with her parents. We shared our experiences as single parents.
L- is a beautiful tiny woman. It’s a shame that her culture constrains her options so much. She is also a very dedicated office manager. When I asked her about taking a vacation, she said that she was responsible for logistics, so she was needed in the office. But it’s clear that she does socialize and have fun- including at the office, where she enjoys everyone. She played Arabic music for me in the car (which is a huge 4 x 4 that she expertly maneuvered through very narrow streets).
The music was very catchy and upbeat. I’m going to upload it into my computer tomorrow so I can play it during the training. She said that if I did that, they would get up and dance. I’m not sure if she was joking or not, so I guess we’ll see what happens.
Well, it’s been a very long and enervating day, so I’m going to take a shower and go to bed! Wish me luck tomorrow!
May your learning be sweet.