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Foreigners’ thoughts about Kenya are varied – Doha Notebook Day 14



Al Khor, place were divorcees are dispatched

This dispatch comes with a rider; It is based on anecdotal evidence gleaned from the word on the street.

Al Khor, a new city situated 45km to the north of Doha and built from land reclaimed from the sea, is home to Al Bayt Stadium that has so far hosted seven matches.

The stadium will also host one quarter-final and a semi-final. Now, Al Khor is said to be the place where female divorcees, of all ages, are sent after their marriages have been terminated by the authorities.

Why this is the case is not clear. It is also whispered that young male foreigners from the eastern parts of Africa prefer finding work in this growing city.

Foreigners’ thoughts about Kenya are varied

Perceptions on Kenya are as varied as there are foreign nationals in Qatar. A Nigerian male journalist I met gleefully accused Kenya of “being masters of drug cheating in athletics.”

A Nepalese taxi driver wondered aloud “is Kenya in Ghana,” while some Pakistani commuter, with a sage look, told me “what did they do with Arshad Sharif (prominent Pakistani investigative journalist who was shot dead in Kenya) in October.

They killed him didn’t they? The Pakistani military.” A Bangladeshi I share my apartment block with could not help chortling “what happened to your cricket. You used to beat us, now you are nowhere.” My ripostes were warm and cordial, in the true spirit of international brotherhood.

Qataris maintain traditional dressing style

It is easy to identify a native Qatari. Their dressing is generally traditional and conservative. Qatari Arab men usually dress in a flowing white shirt, called a thawb, and a headscarf, known as a kaffiyeh, held in place by a cord (ʿiqāl).

Dress for Qatari women, although still conservative, is much less formal than in neighbouring Saudi Arabia. Many women still wear the full length black cloak called ʿabāyah, but will generally have Western clothing underneath.

But others just wear the veil (ḥijāb). Qatari traditional dress is often decorated with gold or silver embroidery. In public the sexes are customarily separated.

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