Monday, August 24, 2009

Flies But No Children

We're moved into the new house, or viiiilla, as they say here.

It's beautiful and way too big for the two of us... everybody asks us where all our children are. They are very disappointed. There are so few people in Oman and so much space that the real-estate, if you can call it that here, is not really at a premium. Land is for the taking. Hell, the government gives each man land and builds him a house when he gets married. The idea of being married and living together as a family WITHOUT children is so foreign. Many people here can't understand having a fulfilling married life, even temporarily, without children. I think part of it is because in these small towns, there is really nothing to do. In the wadis, at least the women sometimes help with the goats and the farming. But here in town and the 'suburbs', without children there is really nothing at all to keep the women occupied. It's sad I think, if you can't entertain yourself and do something satisfying in life for yourself.

On another note: I say we are moved in, but we only have one air conditioning unit in the bedroom so it's pretty intolerable to even go elsewhere in the house now. The windows don't have screens, so it's full of flies too. But as everyone has noticed--westerners and non-Omani Arab staff alike, that the Flies of Oman are fat and slow. As George said yesterday, as he was going around with the fly swatter, it's not even a challenge hitting these things, it's just a chore. Nabil, an Iraqi collegue from last year, who incidentally did not like Oman, would regularly compare Omanis to their flies. Big and lazy!, he would say. In Iraq, you cannot hit them!
No I don't know if the man-fly comparison is fair, but he was spot on about the flies.


muscati said...

Just to correct your information: 1. The government does not give away free land. It is sold to citizens at nomonal fees, but the waiting period for getting one is very long.. For a period of about 15 ot 20 years they stopped taking applications all together and only started again in 2004. These lands they allocate are not in prime areas. Currently for Muscat they give land closer to Qurayat. 2. The government doesnt give anyone money to build houses. No one. Low income citizens can apply for subsidized loans from Oman Housing Bank. Social welfare families can apply for government housing a and when it becomes available.

I had to wrk ten years before my salary was high enough to allow me to get a decent mortgage sufficient to builld a house, which I will repay over the next twenty years of my life.we do not get any special favors unlike other countries like Kuwait where the government actually does give newly married couples land and money to build a house- though from what I hear there the waiting period is 10 years or more.

beefriends said...

In the traditional world, having children, especially sons, provides a woman's access to respect and prestige within her community. Not so in the "first world". When a woman has a baby in the (non-traditional) West, she may get fussed over for a bit (may, or may not!), then she had better get back to some "meaningful" activity pretty quickly, or she may actually lose social standing. And, there may be way less community support. Because all the other women under the age of 65 have to go out to work too!

If a woman is not set up to have her needs met as she tries to face such a daunting challenge, it definitely would be wise to wait on the baby part.

Clare said...

Dear Muscati,
Thanks for your comment. That isn't what I heard, or what some Omanis have told me. However, I always welcome more information. I will look into it and publish again when I find out more. Thanks again.

umm qahtan said...

Marhaba Clare,
I came by your blog and started reading. Ahlan wa sahlan - welcome to oman. May you enjoy your time herew tih us in sunny oman.

Land in oman isnt given freely as muscati was saying correctly so, nor do you get a house when you get married, be that the case wow my hubby and i would be living some high life back in his tribal area in southern salalah but instead we are here working our rears off just to pay bills and try build even a one brick foundation on a plot of land that he got when he turned 20 something from a out of a hat situation.
In some places now you will find that some women are being given lots of land but they have to be over a certain age and have full details with them about thier family and tribe or community. Lets see what tomorrow brings..maybe someone will knock our front door and tell us we have a Villa awaiting our arrival.. Ya Rabbi - Oh Lord that would be beautifull.

As Muscati said in the end of hhis message, if we want one of those things called a Villa, we have to work double shifts, have something like a phd under our belt to get a higher salery and then pay for the next 20 to 40 years of life and through that try pay for our kids to get a good education.. which isnt cheap for the everyday mohd and mona.

Alhumdulillah- All thanks be to Allah, we have our cattle, our little milking pots, our pick up trucks and a handfull of kids to keep us on our toes in the rainy days.

Clare said...

Hi Umm Qahtan,
Perhaps I am wrong about being given houses. If so, then I wonder why so many people (Omanis) have told me otherwise.
I will ask more people tomorrow. I am confused because I am being told two opposite stories.
More soon.

Anonymous said...

Hello Clare,

Just came across your blog, added it to my morning office-procrastination routine :)

I want to echo Muscati's comments; he is indeed correct, and I'd reckon is one of the fortunate ones.

-Omani in US