Monday 2 January 2012: Hope for the future
This delightful baby girl paid a visit to the office this afternoon and of course had everyone dancing attendance on her for the half an hour or so that she stayed. She is the daughter of one of the staffmembers and he has been promising to bring her in and show her off ever since she was born in February.
I was not blipping then (I wish I had been) but as Bahrain was going through its own part in the Arab Spring at the time, I was writing fairly detailed email missives to concerned family and friends around the world, to keep them updated about the situation on a day-to-day basis. I've just had a look to see what I said about the baby's arrival, and found this:
" 21st Feb:
Things fine here - went past the Pearl roundabout today on my way to the Souk; it's like a festival down there! Tents, generators, food, thousands of flags, kites, balloons, Media and Medical Centres, babies in trollers, people with placards (various) and Traffic Police keeping people moving along the flyover. Souk traders were nearly falling over themselves in the rush to offer me mosque clocks, watches, camels, Bahrain tee-shirts and fake Gucci handbags.... but I only bought some silk in a shop where there was a man buying large amounts of red and white cotton, obviously destined to be made into flags.
Then I went to the tailor in Exhibition Rd to pick up some trousers they had been making. The Filipina tailors were very jolly and one told me that her husband, who works for a foam factory, says this crisis has been very good for business because only yesterday they received an order from the Army for 1,700 mattresses! Then it was on to a compound in Adliya near Yateem Gardens to pick up a friend of Immy's to come and play. We came home via Salmaniya where all was quiet outside the hospital. The petrol station at Alosra had all the pumps coned off though, which worried me a bit so I drove straight to Seef as my petrol light was on (!) and filled up there without any trouble.
After lunch, I went to the International Hospital to see H. and E.'s beautiful new baby daughter, who was born on Saturday - the day the Crown Prince ordered the army off the streets. They have taken two adjoining rooms; huge twin flower arrangements each side of the door to welcome visitors; trays of food and drink for the visitors; E. with full hair and makeup done.... she was in bed when I got there but earlier on she had been up and dressed in a most elborate dress! They had gifts (little manicure sets) for the visitors. H. said the Maternity Wing is almost empty as people are taking their babies home as soon as possible for 'safety', which he thinks is crazy as surely a hospital is the safest place to keep a newborn baby and its mother for the first few days?!
Anyway, a fairly 'normal' day, really! Apparently the Crown Prince is speaking at the Grand Mosque at 8 o'clock this evening and everyone is welcome to come along and hear him. It's on occasions like this that I particularly wish I had learnt Arabic.
School reopens again tomorrow THANK GOODNESS! They have remained closed for an extra two days after half term but the kids really need to get back to some sort of proper routine and frankly I'm getting rather desperate with having a bored child on my hands. Yesterday I went to Seef Mall with Immy and a friend of hers and let them go to the dreaded Magic Island for something to do. So - tomorrow back to school and an end to the failed attempts to make blue meringues, etc!! "
This little girl represents the future of Bahrain and I hope it will be a bright one. There are many mumblings at the moment about bringing Sunni and Shi'a together again in a sprit of harmony and reconciliation - which will no doubt take time, but happily there are already thousands of children who, like this one, have parents who call themselves 'Sushi' because one is Shi'a, the other Sunni. The divisions of the past year are very recent but for much, much longer both sects have coexisted peacefully here as neither Sunni nor Shi'a - but simply Bahraini.