Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Weekend Post

Hello Y’all!

It’s Wednesday! Yay!!! Not quite sure why I’m so pleased. Nothing very exciting is happening this weekend except Obama’s speech to the Muslim world on Thursday. I’m really looking forward to that. He’s such a unique person. I mean, honestly, would you believe that he gave Queen Elizabeth an i-pod? He did. Remind me again how old is she?

The local newspapers have stated that the monsoon may be a little early this year. What blessing. I’ve almost reached the end of my patience with this heat. It’s not really that hot (only 33-34) but the humidity is plain murder.

Official wedding season in Salalah has started (June 1 – August 30). I still don’t understand how some people end up going to five or six weddings on the same day. There are SO many weddings. I guess because families are big in Salalah (average 8 kids per family?), so they usually try to marry two brothers off on the same day. This is the case with a cousin of mine who is getting married tomorrow to his first cousin on his mother’s side. They announced to the whole town that two brothers were getting married on June 4th. However, guess what? They couldn’t find a bride for brother number two! I love Salalah. Imagine announcing a wedding without a bride.

It’s quite unsettling that our society still encourages marriage of first cousins. I know it’s acceptable in Islam; however, in Oman we have a serious autism problem and other genetic disorders because of intermarriage. I know so many people who married their first cousins, and who now have autistic children, or children with special abilities and needs. It’s because their parents before them were first cousins and the generation before that. When intermarriage goes on for a long time, problems happen. I read a horrifying article in the newspaper a few months ago that 33% of children in Oman have genetic disorders, and 13% of children (in the South I think) have some form of autism. The statistics are shocking. Yet, we still go ahead and marry first cousins. That is the main cause for these disorders. I think they’re more common in the South of Oman and in the interior because of strong tribal traditions and family ties.

The problem is that once a child with a disability or mental disorder is born, the families (especially in the South) aren’t relaxed about it. Many of them hide the child in their house and never allow it to be seen my strangers. They refuse to send their child to any of the centers for children with special abilities and needs, because they think people will ‘talk’. It’s a difficult situation. Furthermore, the women who work at these centers are not qualified to deal with handicaps. They’re volunteers with big hearts but not enough experience, especially with autism. Autistic children are so special and needs extra care and attention. They are most certainly not retarded. They’re unique and very gifted. A two-week clay and pottery workshop was held at Dhofar University for these children in Salalah, and my goodness they are SUCH talented artists. I saw some of their work in the newspaper and was very impressed.

It’s Wednesday! (yes, I know I already said that at the beginning of my post!) I seriously need to chill in front of the air conditioner with a book and perhaps a good movie.
PS (Pray for the families of the 228 people on the missing Air France plane. What a tragedy)


  1. I agree with everything you've said about intermarriage, but hey! what can we do. It's too much of a tradition/cultural thing and to make a change is considered something not good/unacceptable.

    Anywho, you have a GREAT weekened okay! ^^

    *God help the families of those missing people. This is really sad.*

  2. Want to tell you that your blog is regularly visited by this person who would far prefer to be living in Salalah than Muscat, now of only I could transfer my job from here to there!! Anyways, love your blog....

  3. G-Chan, I hope you have a great weekend too, wherever you are! Traditions CAN change and WILL change but with time and patience.

    JH Annonymous, keep visiting my blog, and I hope you're surviving the weather in Muscat.

  4. QE 2 is 82 years old, I think a lot of her. Imagine her patience having to meet the Prime Minister every week. She must have to bite her tongue often....

  5. The rate for autism is just too high. People need to start thinking even if it is traditional it much more about health and the future of your country. Having too much people with handicaps will be costly for the country and you need to start investing on specific programs to train people who will interact and take care of this part of the population. It is not possible to continue to do as they do not exist...