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Brasilia
20 Nov, Tuesday
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No, It’s Not Southern Beirut

HERE’s a picture I took from my apartment’s balcony a few days ago showing the rubble left behind after they tore down a run-down apartment building behind the building I live in.

With all the scenes of destruction in Lebanon that we’ve been seeing on television, I thought this evoked scenes from that war without the horror and casualties, obviously.

I didn’t even notice that the building was being pulled down until I heard heavy noises one morning and decided to investigate. Good riddance I say to that building as it was rundown and yucky.

And speaking of apartment buildings, the continued severe water shortage here in Jeddah has been a nightmare to live with. I never have water coming out of my faucets and am forced to buy water around three times a week from a water truck that comes around. The water costs 3 riyals a gallon (it’s actually drinking water, but I don’t trust lesser quality water as its often salty). So, I’ve been spending around SR360 ($100) a month just on water that I store in these large, blue plastic drums.

Because of this severe lack of water, I’ve been looking to move to a building that has a regular water supply. I looked at one apartment last night with my friend Marvin. We liked the fact that it is on the fifth floor with views of Jeddah’s famed water fountain! But the building is from the seventies and the previous tenants left the apartment in a mess, especially the kitchen where it looked like they had literally cooked greasy food in the sink and never cleaned it! It was disgusting. The “hariss” (guard) said they were going to repaint the apartment and clean it and that I could come back in a month to see it then.

At an editorial meeting a few weeks one of my colleagues said that he was writing a story claiming that Jeddah’s water shortage had been solved. What folly! We all screamed “NO! It hasn’t!! What planet are you living on?!” and that was the end of that story.

I don’t see any end to Jeddah’s water woes anytime soon. The water we are supposed to be getting from the Shuaiba desalination plant, 100 kilometers south of Jeddah, is clearly not enough to meet demand. The only solution in my mind is to install water meters for every residence and charge commercial rates for water consumption, just like they do for electricity. That way people would stop wasting water, and get over their stupid belief that water is free. It’s not and never will be in a desert country like Saudi Arabia where it barely rains and there are no rivers.

Comments (3)

  • t

    Good luck to you in finding water.

  • dionne dy

    I am a nursing student who graduated last March of 2006 of a university based in Cagayan de Oro City. And I took the board of nursing exams also in Cagayan de Oro City last July of 2006 conducted by the PRC. Allow me to share a few thoughts of my experience.
    I had high hopes of becoming a registered nurse and I believe that the path to that is hard work and discipline. And I really aimed for it not only for my own personal success but also for my family and loved ones. Thus I thoroughly reviewed for the board exam with fervent determination and dedication. I enrolled and attended review classes offered by our university not wanting to be left out by any recent developments and updates regarding the exam subjects. I spent much time and a considerable sum of money and exerted sweat and tears just to be able to do what it needs to be done in order to be physically, mentally and spiritually ready for the exams. Come Exam days I admit I had a hard time in one of the subjects but generally I was at peace at myself believing that I have done my part and that I left everything to Divine Providence on the outcome of my exams. And then the controversy began when word got out that some answers were leaked out by two members of the Board of Nursing to a well known national review center. Speculations abound like we are all going to retake the exams or that the subjects that were the source of the leakage were going to be nullified. Based on news reports the NBI will be conducting an investigation on the alleged leakage of exam questions based on the complaints of several nursing graduates

    And then the results came out last July even when the investigation has not been concluded. Unfortunately my name was not on the list and naturally I was very disappointed. But when I got hold of my tests scores I found out that I failed because 20 points were deducted in two out of the five subject exams. I was naturally clueless how it came about and I asked myself why were there deductions in two of my subjects when the investigation has not yet been concluded? Has the Board of Nursing or the PRC made a final conclusion already that there indeed was a leakage? And if so how did the 20 point deduction came about? And besides granting for the sake argument that there was indeed a leakage why imposed 20 point deductions to the thousand of honest reviewees who never received a single leaked answer? It is outright unfair and cruelly unjust if not contrary to law, morals or good customs. The better alternative if indeed there was a leakage of answers would be to nullify the compromised subjects. Therefore a very good explanation from the Board of Nursing and the PRC are in order. I believe that I deserve it because I have earned it. And it’s the least that it can do the thousands of suffering nursing reviewees.
    Lastly it is equally frustrating and disheartening to know now that if there were no deductions in my subjects I would have gotten a passing grade.

  • raul

    im a jeddah resident too and i totally agree with your idea of water meters. in my apartment alone, i feel really bad whenever someone left the water running. don’t they know how important the water is? i hope your idea reach the authorities.

    more power to you.

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