Things have gotten a bit strange here in the Kingdom. What started out as a fairly uneventful week has turned into five days without a single major incident. Not only has it actually felt somewhat normal, progress has been made in at least one major way each day. The weather has eased into relatively balmy temps each day, hovering around the mid 80s; the normally endlessly blue skies have occasionally been covered with thin dust colored clouds. It’s been almost surreal to wake up each day in what seems like such a distant place from where I came just two short months ago.
Things have been on quite the upswing at the Boys’ School. On Tuesday, just a few hours after we finally found the key to the classroom where the projectors had been locked, the engineers arrived and began the installation process in my classroom. Without even having to ask them, they unscrewed one of the outlets and rewired it so it would work, and then gave me a power strip so I could actually power my computer. After getting a hold of the pirated copies of Windows and Microsoft Office, I formatted my computer. This just happened to all take place during a normal class period, but considering how extraordinary it was to actually have these things happening, I had my class take an “exercise break” outside while I oversaw everything taking place. Wednesday morning I started my morning like this:
Its just so fancy.
The building is still seriously lacking in important infrastructure, including any cables on which a school wide network or basic internet could be implemented. The engineers who installed the projector haven’t yet been contracted for that project, so it will be some time before anything is up and running. This is slightly frustrating, but it pales in comparison to more serious problems. The building ran out of water several times this past week because the water lines have not been connected to the main water supply, and the reserve water tanks we usually rely on can apparently be depleted rather quickly. The normally scheduled water deliveries weren’t prearranged for this month, so trucks have had to come to refill the tanks sporadically each day, if we’re lucky they come at all. I should mention that this building was completed three years ago and has been in final development stage ever since. Thankfully, we have a sewer connection and it can handle most of the waste being produced in the building. The Girls’ School is not quite as lucky, and has a strict ‘basket policy’ for toilet paper and the like (not that Saudis really ever choose to use toilet paper anyway). There are numerous other problems, such as broken windows, faulty wiring, locked doors without keys, and considerable amounts of construction debris on the second and third floors. These issues will take months, if not longer, to be resolved.
I’ve had an almost wonderful time teaching over the last five days. There’s been the usual fights, language misunderstandings, confrontations with parents, and pointless visits from bureaucrats, but I’m actually quite happy with the week as a whole. It’s odd though. As great as it is, I can’t help but feel guilty about how positive things have gone. I’m nervous as to what next week will bring. Things have a nasty habit of swinging back and forth between extremes, which means I might be in for one hell of a week. I’d like to think that I’m about due for some continued positive vibes. Here’s to hoping Lady Karma agrees.