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Expat wanderer

Feeding Stranded Bangladeshis

In today’s Arab Times is an op-ed piece by the Rev. Andy Thompson on the continuing plight of Bangladeship workers, whose employers stopped paying their 20KD salary PER MONTH (can YOU imagine?) and who now – only want to go home.

Over the summer, many people from many walks of life in Kuwait worked together to help try to see that these men got some food, and then tried to find a more equitable and lasting solution.

By Rev Andy Thompson
St Paul’s Anglican Church, Ahmadi

JUST before the summer holidays started, the Arab Times recorded a disturbing story about the plight of over a thousand Bangladeshi workers who had not been paid their paltry KD 20 a month for many months and so they consequently went on strike. With no money, no hope and living in appalling conditions these workers were at the end of their tether. A subsequent Arab Times article called “You can make a difference”, challenged readers to respond by at least making sure that the Bangladeshi workers did not go hungry. The story had clearly touched the hearts of many Arab Times readers and the response was fantastic. Over the last two months, food has been flowing into the Bangladeshi workers residence. I wish I could publicly acknowledge the many people who helped, but typically they gave generously and anonymously. They include both Kuwaiti and expatriate, rich and poor, Christian and Muslim. They were united in their repulsion of the inhuman and unacceptable treatment by a greedy and unscrupulous company who traded human misery for profit

You can read the rest of the article (and it is worth reading) HERE.

September 14, 2007 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Community, Crime, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Financial Issues, Health Issues, Hygiene, Kuwait, Living Conditions, News, Social Issues, Spiritual, Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Ramadan Date Night

It’s the first night of Ramadan, and it is also Thursday, which is date night for Adventure Man and me. We hustle around all week, involved in our lives, grabbing ten minutes here and a phone call there, sitting down to dinner and that’s about it. But Thursday nights, we have the sweet luxury of time together. We go out to dinner somewhere, and we talk on the way there, we talk all through dinner and we talk on the way home. We both love date night.

Date night on the first night of Ramadan is REALLY special. Here is why:


“What’s so special?” you are asking in puzzlement. “That’s just an empty parking lot.?”

“EXACTLY!” I exclaim, triumphantly. “At seven in the evening, there are PARKING SPACES!” In a mall built for thousands of people that has only forty parking spaces! And we get Rock Star Parking!”

And unlike countries where they start putting up Christmas decorations in October, the Ramadan decorations began going up seriously yesterday, the beginning of Ramadan. They are still finishing up tonight.


I love the crescent moon and stars twirling down from these –


And look at these GORGEOUS lanterns!


There is no one around to object to my photo-taking. All the Westerners are eating or shopping while the mall population is so light.

Traffic is so light that we even stop for gas on the way to dinner, and drive right up to a pump with no wait at all. All the good Muslims are at home, or with friends, breaking the fast together, celebrating their triumph over the first day of fasting.

If you lived in Kuwait, you would know what a triumph it is. The weather is cooling, but still very hot – around 111°F/44°C every day this week. It is dry, and on some days there are sandstorms. Even when you are not fasting, you yearn for a cold drink of water.

The women often cook all day. They do the shopping. Many are around food most of the hours of their fast, so that they might provide a feast for their family when the sun sets, and they resist the temptation, just smile and say “It’s a test.” There is a custom that they can taste the food, to make sure it is OK, but they cannot swallow, or the fast is broken.

September 14, 2007 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Community, Cross Cultural, Customer Service, Eating Out, Entertainment, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Ramadan, Uncategorized, Weather | 9 Comments