Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Leaving on a jet plane....soon

Hani and I had gone out to the souk and when we came back there were huge numbers of men on the street buying everything from used suits to shoes and, of course, Qat. The sky looked awfully ominous, but I was assured there would be no rain for a few months, and, there was no rain.
I am enjoying getting out and showing folks their country. Today, I was talking with one of the men about the President's Mosque and how the women's side was so ugly in comparison to the men's side. He was fairly impressed that I had managed to see both sides...he had never been in this Mosque. So, I sent him some photos and he concurred...not equitable treatment at all.
This is a Christmas party that I observed the other day from my room. "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" was playing and I looked out. Note the snowmen and the bells and all of the Muslim women scarved and veiled. Quite a hoot.

Today as I was clapping my hands and saying, "yela, yela" one of the participants indicated that while he had served in the army, he had never had someone quite as strict as I. We all laughed. He saluted me and I returned the favor.

Held a "development communication" workshop for UNDP folks and it was quite an international assembly of folks working here with the United Nations Development Programs. I thoroughly enjoyed the extra work and getting to meet such a diverse, committed group of people. They work all day! Think about that.
And tomorrow, I am going to be interviewed. I have been kidding the participants because when Hani finishes his presentation, they clap for him. One of the women has been calling him Dr. Hani, a term of respect but not calling me Dr. Teresa. She stopped the Dr. title but because Hani, an editor in chief at a digital newspaper in Cairo was interviewed by one of the papers, I am going to have the same opportunity. We are working on equitable and fair treatment of all as a concept. Can't wait...should be a hoot. Like I can keep my mouth shut or be appropriate for more than five minutes at a throw. We shall see.
Oh and one of the guys that I thought was texting today was actually video recording my talk. He hadn't asked permission and I suggested that that is most appropriate for journalists to do first and besides, this is a country where one does not photograph women without asking permission. He stopped and came by later with hand over his heart, many apologies and a request that I still like him and respect him. I suggested that all was fine but I better not see myself on Facebook or YouTube and he was appalled. No Yemeni would do that and several echoed that sentiment. We laughed together. I also suggested I didn't want that to go to the ministry of public information either. I do want to come back one day.

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