Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Perhaps a coffee shop built closer to my house?

Protests this week included a taxi driver who threatened to light himself on fire over a parking ticket and a group of elementary school children who staged a sit-in opposing their principal. I'm thinking of protesting for something, too; I just have to think of what I most want from the Jordanian government. More parking lots? Fewer feral cats?

GAM to provide electricity, water to outlying villages

AMMAN (Petra) - The Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) will provide water and electricity to the villages of Abu Sayah, Khaled Ibn Al Waleed, Wadi Al Qetar, Mugheirat, Hazaa and Baidaa, Amman Mayor Omar Maani said on Tuesday. During a meeting with local residents, he emphasised the government’s commitment to develop infrastructure services in the greater Amman area. On Monday, the villagers staged a sit-in to protest against road conditions and poor electricity and water services.

ASEZA, GAM employees end protests

AMMAN (JT) - Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) employees ended their sit-in on Monday after several meetings with Amman Mayor Omar Maani, during which he promised to study their demands, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported. Hundreds of employees staged a sit-in outside GAM headquarters on Sunday demanding higher salaries and a probe into alleged corruption at the municipality. Some 300 employees, who vowed to continue their demonstration daily until their demands were met, called on the mayor to hire all day labourers as full-time employees and to reconsider the municipality's spending priorities. Also on Monday, Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA) day labourers ended a protest after the authority decided to appoint them as full-time employees. ASEZA Chief Commissioner Mohammad Saqr said the authority will study all the protesters' demands. Around 200 day labourers had staged a sit-in on Sunday and Monday in front of the ASEZA headquarters calling for higher salaries.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Work Life Balance

So Mubarak stepped down and my grandfather died. The two events are not connected, yet for me intertwined. At nearly the same moment Tahrir Square erupted in joy, Grandpa's funeral was starting. I wasn't present for either event. I was in the office.

It was very strange to be frantically clicking my way through websites, trying to find the most updated news stories to print and hand to an incoming official visitor, while simultaneously watching for my mother's texted updates about the funeral preparations. It is amazing, really, that I could 'see' both events in real time. I wonder if Grandpa would have known who Mubarak was. They were about the same age.

Frantic click-click-click. Moment of quietude. Print and collate and staple, then take a second to worry if the flowers you ordered arrived. They didn't have any cotton boles to put in the arrangement -- not the right time of year. Do we have any folders left? The ones with the Embassy Seal on the front? Watch the cheering crowds on the tv screen, then sit quietly at your desk -- just for a moment -- to read Mom's last text.

I couldn't bring myself to tell the florist something meaningful to write on the card, since I didn't want to start crying at work. But I did think to call her back and change the message to read "Love Katie" instead of "From Katie."

I suppose a lot of people are thinking about their messages for Mubarak, too.