Demographic diversity is one of the features that make Qatar unique. Despite being a Muslim country, people of all religious backgrounds work and live peacefully. This is truly a unique characteristic of the county in a time when there is disharmony prevalent across the globe.
Ramadan is a month when Muslims have to change their daily routines while fasting from dawn to dusk. The changes are very significant and are observed and experienced by the non-Muslim expatriates as well.
Susana Fabre is a Mexican who has been living in Qatar for the last six years. Recently she shared her experience of witnessing Ramadan in Qatar and how she has been conducting herself during the Covid-19 pandemic with Community.
“I came to Doha after my husband got a job here, but I had also visited a few years before since my father also worked in the country. I am a graphic designer and anthropologist and spend my time doing freelance work and consulting, as well as taking care of my two young daughters. I am also a part of the Arab Youth Climate Movement Qatar as creative director and social impact consultant, managing content on social media,” Susana said while introducing herself.
The Mexican has been staying at home during the pandemic and spending time with her two daughters. “The past few weeks, since schools closed, I have spent the majority of my time taking care of my daughters. I try to stick to a schedule for homeschooling since keeping a routine helps during transitions. It was a very big change in our everyday plans.
As recommended by the school, all of the work we do, we do in the morning. It is complicated since they are two girls of different ages, and most of the content I have received has to be explained by me and imparted in a very hands-on way, so the other one is always left on the side as I focus on explaining one activity to the other one. It has been a challenge, but it has also been a good learning experience about the intense and incredibly important job of school teachers.
“I try to take the kids outside, but since parks, pools and beaches are closed, our options are narrow. We can go for walks, but kids prefer free play than just walking, so sometimes we just stay in. I built monkey bars inside their room, and they are active kids, lately, they have spent a lot of time burning energy on them. I am lucky my daughters are also friends and enjoy playing with each other, they fight like all siblings, but overall, they keep each other in good company. In between taking care of them, I try to juggle my personal projects and keep the house clean with as much order as possible—although with kids here around-the-clock toys have invaded every single corner.”
The inquisitive expatriate is pleasantly surprised to witness the holy month in Qatar. “Witnessing Ramadan in Qatar has been a very interesting experience. Mexico has a small Muslim community, so I confess I had very little knowledge of Islam and of Ramadan before coming here. I am very interested in learning about other people’s ideas and beliefs, and have taken some lessons on Islam. I also love asking friends about their own beliefs and the way they participate in them.
“I have been pleasantly surprised by many first-hand accounts of Muslim friends participating in the month of Ramadan, in fasting, and in breaking the fast with family. I think it must be an incredibly interesting bodily experience, as well as a spiritual one.
“However, the waste of food in Ramadan has also been very shocking for me, and I am certain that if I didn’t have these first-hand testimonies of friends focusing on the spiritual part of this holy month, I would be horrified. I am grateful I have had the chance of meeting Muslim friends who have been kind enough to share their thoughts and feelings about Ramadan with me, which has allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of its meaning.
However, many non-Muslims in the country haven’t had this chance. It would be nice to use the opportunity we are all having in living in a country of such diversity to learn about other ways of living so that we can be an example to the rest of the world of the possibility of peaceful understanding between all of us.”
Source: Gulf Times
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