Monday, December 7, 2009

I met Princess Rhoda today

I went to work today and it started like any other Monday. I only work/volunteer on Sundays and Mondays. Today I arrived at 8am as usual and was told there were no classes. None at all.

My head of Department invited me to the opening of the library. I didn't even know they had a library. It was there I learned that the Princess was coming. At this point you need to understand my situation. It is cold with the air conditioning always up high so when I am in the library, I gotta go to the toilet. I was busting, the cold air and my old bladder well... I told myself to hang on. I didn't want to miss a thing. So when I sneezed I just crossed my legs.

With the princess and all the other women that's why no men, boys or photos allowed.

I was invited to stand in the receiving line. From then on I was in the Royal party. :) Wow! What a day.
Matthew picked me up from the school after 2pm and we made it home in time for me to make a a mad dash to the loo!!! phew that felt better.
For details continue to read.

As I walked in the building, it was much quieter than usual. No children playing in the courtyard, no music being piped through the big speakers and not as many cars as usual dropping off their chargers for the day.

I am told that there are no classes today. I question, "None at all?" and the answer, "None at all." No boys either. I thought is was just for the National Day celebration.

Ms Faysa, (my Head of Department), invited me to go around to the library. We walked through the quiet halls and as we turned the corner into the wing where the Blind students attend, my eyes focus on the 3 archs that are covered in fresh flowers of all descriptions and colours. It is then that I realise it is more important than I had realised. It is the library for the blind students.

Past the specially constructed arch that red, white, green and black tule was stretched. I learn that the Princess was coming to open the library. We go into the library and assist with last minute preparations. A quick flurry to tidy up and I just follow Ms Faysa out the door. I am going to stick beside her all morning. I don't want to miss a thing.

We approach 4 women, 2 younger and 2 older. I comment on the excitment of the day and that there are no boys as well. There is a bit of a giggle and they converse in Arabic. It is then that I take a moment to observe the women a little closer. The older women stand so straight and look a little stern. I think to myself, "Twit, what if that's the princess and you made a right nit of yourself".

I follow at the back of the group of women wearing their finest clothes and jewelry covered by their Abyah, and shaylahs. Back into the library where I stand to watch faces and interactions. If one of these ladies is the princess I want to remember her face. I ask another lady standing there and discover these 2 ladies are actually the big bosses and decission makers. I learn their names and only remember one, but she is the big boss, so I'm okay with that. I had heard her name before Ms Miriam.

With that tour finished all make for the door. We walk to the front of the building and wait, and wait, and wait. The princess was to arrive at 11am and didn't turn up until 11.45. It was then I took the opportunity to get in the ear on the boss ladies about providing me with a computer so that I can do my job, especially considering they don't pay me the least they can do is provide me with equipment to do my job. DONE!!! So we will see when I go next week. ;)

Finally with a flurry of activity a big white 4 wheel drive comes in and drives past the red carpet, another silver 4 wheel drive stops to the side of the carpet in all 3 4x4s - THEN- a chocolate brown and caramel coloured Rolls Royce pulls up to the carpet. Out steps the princess and her entourage. Some faces are covered with their black shaylah, while others are visable.

Ms Faysa ushered me into the receiving line and there I stood, as Princess Rhoda approached me I thought what will I say???!! By now she is standing in front of me and extends her hand (the women here are gentle when they shake hands - so very lady like), I extend my hand and before my brain kicks in I grab her hand and say - "Gidday mate!" I can hear you. I know, I know!!!

I follow the group to the libray and I clapped lady like when the ribbon was cut. I stood at the door while they all squished into the small room that is now a library. Princess Rhoda is kind and reminded me of Princess Di as she knealt beside the blind students to talk with them. She was polite and very quiet. Finally the tour is over and off the entourage go making their way to the hall.

As Ms Miriam passes by me at the door with a wave of her hand she says, "Come with us." So now I am included in the royal entourage. I position myself to the left and back of the princess. I am in the middle of the group and walk where they walk. The princess and all in the group receive gifts from each little stall of information. All of which I received graciously. I looked for someone in the group that would speak english and purposely stood beside her. She is in gr 10 and spoke very good English. She has travelled to many places including the US. It seemed Aysha was in charge of holding all the gifts for the princess who happened to be her Aunty. Then another lady (who was tall and slim not skinny but in perfect proportion) in the entourage spoke to me in very good English so we conversed for some time. Mostly about sign language and why there isn't an international sign language.

It was then time for the entertainment. This taller lady invited me to sit with her in the comfy chairs. I sat on the end. The entertainment was the special ed students performing a poem, a little blind boy recited a passage from the Quaran from memory, a group of Down Syndrome boys danced as a group of Down Syndrome girls walked in. It was explained to me that it was a mock wedding. As the young groom put a black cape on the young women then they walked off together signalling the marriage is complete. Another dance routine from a group of little girls. cute.

The day finished with small cups of Arabic coffee, tea or saffron milk. Wow!! what a day.
It would have to be spectacular to top this off. Now I better get to my presentation preparation.

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