» Ahmed & Maryam

Age Late 50s - Grandparents, longing for the past

Ahmed & Maryam

Ahmed and Maryam have 12 children and 50 grandchildren. Ahmed never learned to read but always worked very hard. A pearl diver by trade, he and Maryam raised their children in a modest home in a fishing village before the oil money came to Qatar. Each morning Maryam would awake before the sun rose and carry water from the well for breakfast and the day’s needs. In those days there was no electricity or air conditioning; today they are overwhelmed but thankful for some of the comforts and technologies oil has brought.

Ahmed and Maryam have no interest in the electronic gadgets their children so easily navigate. They feel removed from this new culture. Ahmed is especially grieved to see the art of pearl diving no longer valued, as it was such an important part of Qatar’s culture and history. Ahmed and Maryam regularly stress to their children the importance of holding on to traditions, Islam and family. It saddens them that mealtimes often involve family members texting on their mobile phones rather than discussing family issues. Change has happened so quickly, and they fear that though much was gained, much can be lost.