Thursday, November 30, 2006

Laptops... an update

A while back I had a post about laptops. Libyan school children are supposed to be getting laptops, a part of the One Laptop per Child project. I found an update about the project, here. - there's even a video showing a laptop in action.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Rainy days


I woke up this morning to the sound of rain but it stopped after a bit. I really like rain, actually the only negative thing I can think about rain is the laundry. I only have a clothes line for drying clothes, no tumble drier - not that they don't exist here, I don't have one simply because the flat is too small and the electrical wiring not strong enough to handle the load. They weren't thinking about large electrical appliances when they built the flats over 30 years ago. So if it rains everything stays wet. Since I have eight people in the house to do laundry for I just keep washing and hang it out in the rain... eventually it all dries. If I stop doing the laundry it piles up too fast and I'd never catch up. So, rain or shine, there's always laundry to be done.

I remember once my sister-in-law had come for a visit and I had just taken all the clothes off the line and was sitting down to fold them. At the time she had two children, but only her son lived with her. She had sent her daughter to live with her mother because she said having two children was too difficult. She looked at the mountain of laundry and said, 'Wow! I can't believe you do this much laundry every week.' I replied, 'This is the laundry for one day.' Her mouth hung open and she said 'Really??' 'Yep, everyday it's like this.'

Imagine only doing laundry once a week! What would that be like? A while ago I made a schedule and said everyone would be responsible for doing their own laundry. Each person had their own day and I gave each person their own basket for their clothes. Did my plan work? Unfortunately, it did not. The kids decided to skip their specified day and let their laundry pile up. If we were living in a bigger place I would have just ignored that and let them deal with it, but with eight people living in a sardine can-sized flat it is just impossible to let mess and clutter accumulate. I gave in and started washing again.

Laundry will just be a life long ordeal... I suppose I could run off and join a nudist colony somewhere, but I don't think I could be so cruel as to impose my nakedness on anyone. lol

Ahhh! I can hear thunder. It's going to rain some more....

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Autumn . . .


Autumn has arrived in Libya. The leaves on the trees are slowly turning from green to brown with all the lovely shades of gold and red in between. I took a peaceful walk at the farm yesterday. The weather was perfect; cool, fresh and the skies where blue with hardly a cloud to be found.


Though the trees are losing their leaves, the grass is green again, the effect of the recent rains. The earth has lost the dusty smell it has during the summer and you can walk without getting your shoes full of loose sand.


The very first wildflowers are beginning to appear. Always the yellow flowers show up first.



The olives are ripening, some are ready to be picked. Soon we will replenish our supply of olive oil and process olives for eating.

I watched the sunset and then went home just as the owls and bats began their day.
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Friday, November 24, 2006

Giving Thanks My Own Way

I had a nice Thanksgiving after all! I didn't eat the traditional turkey and I had to work but I made the most of it and went on the have a nice day. It was really nice that I got so many nice comments from readers. Thanks! (There are too many nice's in there - I would blast my students for that!)

What really made my day was that I decided to share Thanksgiving with my students at school. I have a class that are at intermediate level and this particular class is comprised of Libyan, Egyptian and Iraqi students. I first asked them what their ideas about Thanksgiving were and they either didn't know, or they thought it was religious and somehow connected with Christmas and Christianity (which it is not). So the first thing I had to do was explain what Thanksgiving was about and then I handed them out a reading that I prepared that was about the first Thanksgiving. You can find it here: Thanksgiving

We had a good time learning about a truly American holiday and the students picked up new vocabulary words such as: venison, wrestling, colonists, tribesmen, game (used in the context of wild game), utensils, epidemic, etc. Everybody liked learning something that they had had misconceptions about. We finished the class by talking about different types of holidays and the meanings of different things that symbolized certain holidays, for example the Christmas tree, candles for Miloud, fool (broad beans)for Ashura, etc. I promised the students I would print out the post about Al-Fatasha that was posted recently on My Enchanting Sareeb. It was a successful lesson.

So today I sit down to open check my e-mail and what do I find? A letter sent to me by someone regarding my post about Thanksgiving. They didn't have the guts to post their opinion in my comments section. So I'll share it here:

Dear Sister Khadija,

If you have adopted Islam as your faith, then it would be irrelevant if not sinful to celebrate it since it is a holiday in the christian calendar. In Islam, we thank ALLAH tens of times every single day not just once a year.

I found it a pity that people are congratulating you on “Thanksgiving” eventhough you proclaimed your Islam. Please know that even greeting the kuffar on christmas and other religious holidays of theirs is haram, by consensus. Similarly, Muslims are forbidden to imitate the kuffar by having parties on such occasions, or exchanging gifts, or giving out sweets or food, or taking time off work, etc., because the Prophet peace be upon him said: "Whoever imitates a people is one of them." For more information please read the rest of the article http://thetruereligion.org/modules/wfsection/article.php?articleid=275

Salam

Please share this information with your readers

You'll notice that the 'person' hasn't the guts even to sign their name. Too bad this 'person' didn't have a chance to sit in my classroom yesterday, sharing some time with warm, friendly, caring, and open-minded students. This 'person' quotes Prophet Mohamed (peace be upon him) as saying "Whoever imitates a people is one of them." - Yes! I'm one of them! I'm an American Muslim - I'm not imitating anyone. How sad that there are such bigoted people in this world....sigh...

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Depressed

Today's Thanksgiving... I am here in Libya where today is like any other... I'll go to work, as usual.

It's not only Thanksgiving today, it's also Jenna's birthday today too. She wants a 'Fulla' jump rope - one that has a counter that will tell her how many jumps she's jumped. I'll have to go get her one, but she'll have to wait to use it until after she finishes her exams, otherwise she will forget all about studying on her quest for reaching a zillion jumps.

The banging upstairs continues... I'm really getting disgusted with the non-stop noise. I get a break when I go to work but tomorrow starts the weekend and I'll be stuck listening to it for the duration. Yesterday, while taking a shower they were above my head banging away. I heard a huge crash of what sounded like the idiot workers dropping the bathtub. I thought for sure it would come crashing through the ceiling and I imagined rescue workers would be pulling me out of the rubble, dead, naked and wet. It's a wonder I didn't suffer a heart attack!

No turkey for us, at least not this week. There's a wedding in the family and I'll have to go and eat Libyan food while listening to yet more noise. sigh....

Have a happy Thanksgiving for all who celebrate it.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Thumbs down

I was really excited to see that after all these years Yusuf Islam, the former Cat Stevens put out a new album, An Other Cup. I was looking forward to hearing something great... but did I? NO!

Stuck in the seventies, same old, same old and every song seemed like it had to have a message behind it. One song, Greenfields, Golden Sands, sounded like he was going to start singing 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow'. Imagine Cat Stevens singing that! uuugh! What on earth was he thinking???

A couple of the songs are not even songs... poetry read with music in the background. The good old days of having his music going through your mind all day long are over... at least not with this album. There aren't even any songs that are sing-a-long-able, it's kind of listen to only music... and I listened to it once... and felt cheated..... sigh...

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Another weekend is over

Today marks the beginning of the kid's mid-term exams. They've been studying all weekend long. Well, actually, they've been mostly fighting with each other, or trying to watch cartoons and they've got either the CD player blasting away, or mp3 players stuffed into their ears. At least that what it seems they've been doing to me. When I tell them to get back to work they complain that they need an occasional break from study.

I've decided not to nag at them too much. They need to be taught that they are responsible for their studies - I certainly can't sit on them all the time, can I?

Ibrahim has been up to his usual tricks. He's broken the glass in the kitchen window. Thank God no one got hurt but it will be difficult to replace because the glass was a special tinted glass that we had installed before we moved in 16 years ago. I'm not sure I'll be able to match the same kind of glass and in order to replace it I'll have to take the window off it's hinges and drive around to the various workshops that sell glass. The thought of having to do this doesn't thrill me at all.

If Ibrahim doesn't make me lose my mind the neighbour upstairs will. The fourth week of pounding and banging upstairs has begun. I can't imagine what else they guy up there has left to knock down.

All the noise, both in my house and beyond, makes me nervous - I am looking forward to going back to work.... it seemed like an awfully long weekend.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Some Links

Survey - A daily doze of what might be exciting and informative.

Braveheart - A Libyan engineer furthering his studies in the UK

Hamza's Libya in a blog

Take it easy

Adventures of Mr Behi

As usual I will add them to the sidebar for future reference.

Life in Libya is changing

I often get email from people asking about what life in Libya is like. Sometimes they have a specific question and sometimes they just want to know about life in general. Oftentimes the letters are from people who have lived in Libya in the past and they want to reassure themselves that life here hasn't changed. I used to feel this way about my own hometown and then when I visited after many years of being absent from it I saw that though many things had drastically changed, there still were things that had stayed the same.

Chatalaine is someone who reads my blog and has started one of her own. She lived here during the 'Wheelus era', her formative years were spent here and Libya had/has a big influence on her life. Her letter began with the woes of finding something to blog about but then evolved into her memories of life in Libya as she knew it. This is what she wrote:

Sometimes I am at a lose for things to blog about. Actually lets make that all the time. I have such a hum drum life. So I blog about things that bug me from day to day. Putting in my two cents like my grandmother would say.

But you! Now there is another story. When I lived in Tripoli we saw camels everyday. The ghiblis would make such a mess.. there would be piles of sand every where and just about the time it all got cleaned up here comes another ghibli. The square where the cathedral and post office was down town was a nice place to have a cool drink in the afternoon. The arched walk ways along the streets down town always enticed me to come and see what was for sale. We shopped for our groceries in a shop called the frozen foods (not much frozen but lots of western products) with the best bread I have ever had and at a produce stand. We would eat at restaurant that was aimed towards Americans Guys and Joes. Spaghetti at the Swan restaurant (the first bug zapper I ever saw was on their patio). These are things that bring back memories for me. I am sure others out there that are not in Tripoli would love to hear about your markets etc.... I have so enjoyed your shopping trips with the kids. Been there done that!! Do you cook western meals? Libyan? Do you ever think about making tacos? If so how would you get the products? Just ideas...... if you have some for me I would LOVE the input!! Chatalaine


And this was my reply:

My life is pretty boring... at least to me. I try to take the ordinary and make it interesting.

The only camels I usually see are hanging in the butcher shop. But I live in Benashur which in your day was the countryside and nowadays is city. When we move out to Ainzarah there are camels on people's farms, but then even Ainzarah is quickly being eaten up. The farms are being divided and houses are going up fast.

Ghiblis are still there... we can't change the weather I guess (sometimes I wish we could).

Supermarkets are changing fast. There are still the tiny mom and pop kind of places but many large supermarkets are popping up and even super stores like The Mahari. Barcode readers at the cash registers, magazines and candy and chewing gum (all the popular western kinds) are on display next to the cashier, the meat department, dairy aisle, an aisle for breakfast cereals - kelloggs and nestle, duncan hines cake mixes and microwave popcorn, all mixed in with the good old fashioned zomita and ibsisa. Libya has lots of variety but still lacks variety in the frozen food dept.

Fast food restaurants are popping up everywhere. Hamburgers, pizza, shawarma and kabob, chicken and there is even a few chinese restaurants and some restarants have mexican food on the menu. Corinthia Hotel even has a Mexican night in one of their restaurants.

Bread - still there are the neighbourhood bakers but there are also large bakeries that sell a variety of breads, pizzas, sweet rolls and croissants. Libyans still must have their bread and it's still government subsidized so it's affordable to everyone.

I make mostly Libyan foods because it's easier to produce a meal for a large family that way. Sometimes we eat 'American' and sometimes Asian. Nowadays we all seem to be on different schedules and it seems we rarely sit down all together anymore.

Most kids here have mp3 players, playstation and computers. Kids know how to use the internet and they watch the latest films and shows on satellite TV - Oprah and Dr. Phil are household words here and we get NBC, ABC, CNN, BBC and all the other acronyms.

The 21st century has arrived in Libya. ...... I think it's kind of sad in a way.... Hurry up and visit before it's all gone.

Chatalaine then sent me this in reply:

OH Teri!!! What a wonderful email! You should blog it as is!!! Thank you for sharing with me. If you don't mind I will post it on our Wheelus message board so everyone can enjoy you words. Have a wonderful Saturday,
Chatalaine

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Where is this? - #13



Here's the next picture for the 'Where is this?' challenge. If you think you know where it is (or you want to guess) click on comments. Click on the picture to see an enlarged image.

The pictures for the game 'Where is this?' have all been taken from someplace in Libya and are in an area open to the public. The prize for the winner will be the satisfaction of knowing that you had the right answer! - I'll let you know who the winner is.

-------------------

A.Adam gave the answer:

'very easy, Wadi Ghan near to Al Hira or Gharian south Tripoli'

He's correct - Mabrouk A.Adam!

Wadi Ghan is a really beautiful place to visit. Water is collected there in a reservoir and there is also a plant there for producing bottled drinking water. The views there are breathtaking.

The wadi is abundant in wildlife. It's a peaceful and quiet place located about an hour's drive south of Tripoli. A nice place to have a picnic or for hiking.

This is the view overlooking the foothills.

I'll have to make the next Where is this? challenge a bit more difficult. A.Adam had the answer posted within an hour of me posting the challenge!

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Saturday, November 11, 2006

Enough Complaining!

Ok.... people have been complaining that I've not posted in a while. It's not so much that I've been busy (I'm always busy) it's just that life's been pretty dull these days. Just work and a few social visits on my schedule for the past week.

The new neighbour upstairs is still renovating. I've had two weeks of pounding and banging above my head. My husband had a word with the guy and said 'Enough is enough - we need a day off!". So today the only noise has been what's normally created by my children (and that's really noisy). Tomorrow the binging and banging will begin again - at 8 in the morning. They stop for about a half an hour for lunch and then continue until sunset. I'm so happy to walk out the door and go to work in the afternoon - six hours of normal noise. Going to work is probably the only thing that's kept me sane.

Otherwise the only thing I've been doing is some de-cluttering in the house. Every November I sort through drawers and cabinets, throwing out all kinds of junk or relocating it. I've also been taking out the winter clothes.

Ibrahim asked me where his winter clothes were and I sent the kids into the storage room to look for them. They couldn't find them and after a while I remembered I threw out all his heavy clothes last spring. He's so hard on his clothes that they looked awful and not worth saving. Next week I'll have to take him shopping for some new stuff. Now that should be a post to look out for!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

We have a winner!


Ahhh! At long last we have a winner! Go have a look to see who's won - I've also add some more pictures.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The sea in winter

The rainy season has begun. Winter will be here soon. School has begun and Ramadan is over, summer is behind us. This is the time of year that I go to the beach. I enjoy feeling the wind whipping around me and watching the waves crashing in along the shore.

A walk along the beach, combing for treasures washed up on the beach. Shells, seaweed, sand polished stones, driftwood, a bottle with a note inside... what do I find ...

Plastic bottles, garbage, paper, torn carpets, chicken bones from long-ago meals, old tuna cans and assorted trash are among the debris washed ashore by the waves.

During the summer months the beach is rented out to people who create temporary beach resorts for the season. They rent tents, beach chairs and palm frond covered shelters to beachgoers. Small cafe's are opened that serve snacks and provide coffee and waterpipes for those that smoke sheesha. Some have play equipment; slides and swings for the children.

At the end of the season they close up shop and leave, leaving behind all the mess that was created by the thousands of people who used the beach during the hot Libyan summer months. Who is responsible for cleaning up this mess?


Every section seems to have some kind of building on it - all of the buildings are made using the cheapest materials available. Unplastered cinder-block, ugly paint.

Many of the places have bathrooms and dressing areas. Old-fashioned hole in the floor toilets...

... with the drainpipes leading directly to the sea. How disgusting! Who would want to swim in a sewer?

Is there a solution for this problem? Who is responsible for cleaning up this mess? It's not only ugly but dangerous and an environmental disaster. Is this a way to encourage tourism in Libya? Are the taxpayers going to foot the bill of the cleanup costs? Or is it just going to be left this way in the hopes that it gets washed out to sea?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

More links to look into

There are a few blogs that I've come across. Two of them I found on other's blogs, one of them was sent to me by it's creator and one I just stumbled upon by chance.

First is a group weblog; Our Favorite Recipe Center is a blog created to compile everyone's favorite dishes - some are Libyan and some are not - all the recipes sound delicious!

Next is a photoblog by Geleidi, a Libyan living in Canada. The photos are stunning.

Here's a new blog - Field of Dreams, the blog of a Tajouran in America. This one's still really new! I hope this Tajouran keeps posting.

I love Libya - A place for people who really miss Libya,who have there great moemories in Libya, People who love to go there, who love Libya.


Last, for now, is Kitmax. This blog chronicles the celebratory re-run of the Long Range Desert Group's 1941 expedition through Libya, reliving the past in the present. There's also a website for Kitmax too.

As always, I'll add them to my sidebar for future reference.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Where is this? - #12



It's been a while since I posted the last 'Where is this?' challenge. If you think you know where it is (or you want to guess) click on comments. Click on the picture to see an enlarged image.

The pictures for the game 'Where is this?' have all been taken from someplace in Libya and are in an area open to the public. The prize for the winner will be the satisfaction of knowing that you had the right answer! - I'll let you know who the winner is.

Because no one's come up with the answer yet, I've added this clue:

Come on! Give it a try! If you think you know where it is (or you want to guess) click on comments. Click on the picture to see an enlarged image.

---------------------

Yeah! Finally! Um Dania's husband said that it's the mosque in the centre of the town of Tahouna. Across the street from the mosque is a memorial - I'm not sure what it's a memorial of, maybe someone knows and can tell us.

We stopped in Tarhouna for a few minutes the day we went to Ben Walid. We let Ibrahim out to run around the square for a bit and we had a look around.

Next to the square is a round-about and while we where there a group of young boys and men were setting up some chairs and dragging out a few gazelles for people to come have their pictures taken with. This is common in Tripoli in the Green Square but I think they where only doing it in Tarhouna because of the Eid holiday.

Tarhouna is a hilly area. The town is a little lower than the surrounding countryside. In the picture above you can see the farmland around the city.

This is the view looking down towards the town from the olive tree covered hills as you approach Tarhouna.

Thanks Um Dania for posting your husband's answer! He won!

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