Living with Imagination [Archives:2001/11/Focus]

March 12 2001

Saeed Hassan Awadh
Aden Container Terminal
Finance Department
People around the world have a weekend which they enjoy with their friends, relatives, families and their children. In other words it is a day on which they relax from the exhaustion of the working days of the week. Normally people spend and enjoy their weekend in places where they can feel comfort, like the beaches or public gardens.
But here in Yemen, the weekend starts on Thursday and runs until Friday. As for me I don’t chew Qat and I hate the bad character of the Qat chewers. Whenever I try to go out on Thursday with my car, I meet in the streets some people who drive like crazy, hurrying either for the Qat market for buying Qat, or if it is already bought, hurrying to attend the Qat session with their friends. It is a common experience chewing at noon and after noon, if we go round the cities we see some gentlemen who have, after lunch, escaped from their children & families and are sitting on the sidewalks with a packet beside them containing Qat and having on their other side a bottle of mineral water (Shamlan), themselves on an empty can or a big stone and wearing tattered clothes. When they start chewing they seem to be far away from any problems. If ever you try to listen to their nonstop chatter it seems as if they are in another world, they will promise many things without fulfilling them, as it is only hypothetical things that come close to them during Qat chewing. In fact, these two days should be spent in the company of their children but they avoid home. Some chewers chew Qat at their homes. They occupy inner chambers with their friends by expelling their children outside without any entertainment till the night.
All those above mentioned bad habits deprive me from enjoying these two days as a weekend of happiness.
And I am accustomed to remain home except in the nights, when the spirits of the Qat chewers begin to recede.