Saturday, July 01, 2006

eyes eyes baby

I begin the new month with my thesis supervisor's priceless advice: "Take a deep breath and keep calm." I enter the clinic at the start of the Saudi working week wearing the face veil. A quick glance at my reflection in the window leaves me amazed: Does my vision fail me or have I really transformed into just another village girl, one of the masses who were staring at me last week with such curious eyes? It's pretty cool actually: In what other small village in the world can you pass so easily for a local, just by wearing their garb? From the men’s section, the head of the clinic peers in and inquires "Is she the researcher?" And then... a thumb's up sign to indicate his approval of me conforming to this curious village's ways.

Today I got my drive and my focus back. I was no longer the center of attention: the chatter had quieted down and my arrival was now old news. With the exception of a few stragglers coming in to "apply" for jobs at the processing plant, all the women at the clinic were here to see the doctor. Perfect! I could now proceed with my original plan of interviewing a much more random sample of village women. This week's approach is to administer the questions personally to the women in the waiting room. Since the interviews are at the clinic, most of the women who come are either mothers or older people and many of them are illiterate, so I have to ask them questions verbally and then write down their answers.

My research has purpose again! And it's fun! The old women in Jizan are just as cute as the old women in Jamaica and Istanbul {Ari and Erencim, please send my love to your precious grandmothers ;)}

At the end of the workday, Ahmad and I headed back on our unpaved, open road towards the campsite. Throwing off my face veil, I resume my daily game of “Spot the difference: mirage or sea?” Poor Ahmad is the one who has to put up with this constant question of mine, as I marvel at the desert’s cruelest practical joke: the mirages that stretch for miles and ignite your thirst by the mere sight of them. Feeling motivated by the day’s accomplishments, I stare back at the mirages, crank up the AC, and take a cool sip of Safa bottled water. A case of Man conquers nature. Drumming my fingers against one another other, I let out an evil laugh that would make Mr. Burns from The Simpsons proud. [Under my breath of course, Ahmad thinks I'm an angel] ;) Mwahahahahahaha

4 comments:

Hyewon said...

This is so COOL! Reading your daily posting makes my day, my Jizan girl! I'm quite stuck with my data and research questions and don't feel my work is ever in progress but reading your note motivates me a lot! Love ya!

Anonymous said...

Added to my favorites to be read everyday as my bed-time story, keep them coming. Best of luck :)

Hyewon said...

Now I understand why you put your title 'eyes eyes baby'! :D Your eyes are beautiful, hon! :) I miss your smiling eyes...

Muna AbuSulayman said...

Dear noura,

I dont normally follwo blogs, but I wanted to visit and just see and I liked it...

I love writing, and editing, and looking how sentences flow to create a feeling....but work, like you, makes one more straight to the point...

Kudos to you for starting it up again...

Muna

IT began as a field diary for my summer in Jizan (2006) under the title "Watch Out Bubba Gump." Now I'm not sure what it is... but I do know it's time for me to start writing again.