Feast or ?Famine ?in Qatar

Name: Heather Friesen

Age: 38

Hometown: Kamloops

Location: Doha, Qatar

Job: College administrator

I moved here because it was an incredible opportunity to expose my children to a different culture. Though they attend a primarily Canadian school, their classmates are from all over the world.

The first thing I did was buy a car. The second was buy a GPS. There are no addresses and most roads have multiple names. 

The biggest shock was the lack of recycling facilities; we toss everything into the trash can. I still feel guilty each time I toss a recyclable.

The biggest challenge was arriving in the heat of summer during Ramadan. At this time it is illegal to drink or eat in public during daylight hours.

The biggest misconception I had was that living in the Middle East would feel diametrically different from living in B.C. Many of the same stores, movies and foods are readily accessible.

The biggest difference working here is leaving work at 3 p.m. It’s incredible how much quality of life improves when a few extra free hours are added to the day.

The people are incredibly polite and respectful. 
Their biggest concern is retaining their culture, because they are quickly becoming minorities in their own country. Over 70 per cent of the population is comprised of expats. 

The food is delicious and inexpensive, even in restaurants (which offer free delivery service, including McDonald’s). The main foods are chicken, beef, seafood and lamb.

What B.C. could learn from Qatar is harsher punishments to deter petty and violent crimes. I’m not advocating the severe sentences in some Middle East courts, but these harsh sentences do appear, on the surface, to reduce crime. Most people don’t lock their vehicles or houses.