My Al Udeid Dorm Room

Many questions arise about Al Udeid Deployments.  Most are in search of the living conditions of the dorm rooms.  I live in the trailers by choice.  I like having control over my AC, and I like that the laundry is done for me.  The over rated new dorms don’t provide the needs, food, and entertainment that the trailer side has.  This is like “where’s waldo” so see if you can find what I list below in my Al Udeid Dorms bedroom. 

So here’s what I have in my Al Udeid dorm room:

  • A big TV that was has been passed down from generation to generation
  • My bike helmet (YES – FIND A BIKE WHEN YOU GET HERE! – DON’T BUY ONE) There are bikes all over the place.  I really wanted one bad so when I found one I found out it was locked.  Bummer, either buy a bike at the BX or get a bike for free from someone that’s going home.
  • My Laptop – there is free WIFI here so you can bring your Crapple machines and computers.  Skype works great, and the internet is great too.
  • Movies – I had family send me flix because I’m not a digital pirate.  My laptop has an HDMI input so I can watch the movies on my TV.
  • AC unit that must be periodically cleaned, serviced
  • A folding laundry basket from home
  • Cleaning supplies for when I make a filthy mess
  • A filter on the top cabinet for pulling the humidity out of the air.  It’s humid here!!!
  • My folding chair that is more comfortable than the chair sitting in the wall locker
  • Textbooks for School – You can take plenty of classes at the ed center while your here.
  • A Sack for hanging receipts – I’ll be sure to shred those so there aren’t any OPSEC violations.
  • Blue bath Towel I purchased at the BX when I got here
  • Clean laundry on the floor wrapped in sacks and folded by the free laundry mat.
  • Extra Shoes.
  • Garbage Sacks for all my nasty trash.

Read more about living on The Deid

My Dorm Room

My Al Udeid Trailers Dorm Room

 

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What is Ramadan? Eid al-Fitr!

Ramadan is the month when Muslims remember the time when the Prophet received his first divine revelation from the Angel Gabriel, and they do this through prayer and fasting.

Muslims don’t, of course, fast at night (with no water, a month of non-stop fasting would be a death penalty) but from dawn to dusk. During Ramadan, every day will start before dawn with Suhur, the pre-fast meal.

During daylight hours, the devout will abstain not just from food, but also from drinking, sex and other pleasures. Indeed, many Muslims find the hardest thing about the fasting month is going without cigarettes during daylight hours.

Ramadan is also the time of prayer, with the entire Quran being recited in mosques around the world. This culminates in the night of power, when devout Muslims spend the whole night in prayer.

Ramadon in Qatar

Ramadan

Why Muslims Fast?

There are numerous references to fasting in the Quran, with Mohammed expounding the virtues of fasting.

“O you who believe! fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may guard (against evil).” (The Cow: 2.183)

Muslims believe that fasting brings them great benefits – including the forgiveness of past sins:

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: Whoever fasts during Ramadan with faith and seeking his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven. Whoever prays during the nights in Ramadan with faith and seeking his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven. And he who passes Lailat al-Qadr in prayer with faith and seeking his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven. (Bukhari, Muslim)

Muslims hope that the fasting will not only draw them closer to God, but also lead to greater empathy with the poor and hungry. All capable Muslims must give Zakat, a proportion of their wealth which is donated to the poor and needy. Throughout Ramadan, food and drink is distributed for free in Ramadan tents.

What Fasting Involves

Fasting for Muslims means means more than going without food and water from dawn to dusk. It is a time when Muslims should strive to be better people, to avoid doing evil, and to be more obedient to God. Of course, Muslims should do this anyway, but Ramadan calls for a special effort. Muslims are also urged to read through the entire Quran during this month.

Restrictions on eating and drinking do not, of course, apply to young children (who may, however, complete a half day), the sick, the pregnant or the frail. Women are not allowed to fast during their menstrual period, although they can make up missed days outside Ramadan.

Changes in Day-Day Life

Ramadan also means major changes in lifestyle. Working hours are often dramatically reduced, and nearly everything in the city is closed from midday, re-opening after eight o’ clock in the evening. Many people sleep in the afternoon, and sometimes it seems that day has been moved to night.

Getting Easier?

In these modern days of air-conditioning, for most people, fasting is not the same as it was in days of old. One Sudanese friend compared fasting:

“The people here are just playing at fasting. They should try it in the Sudan, living in a hut with no fan, let alone AC, and working hard in the sun all day. That’s fasting!”

Fasting may not be as easy as he suggests, but the changes in lifestyle probably means it is easier for many indoor workers to observe Ramadan than it is in many Western countries. To help them cope with the desert heat and sun, Muslims outdoor workers, often work night shifts, with colleagues of other religions replacing them in the day.

At the end of the day it’s traditional for Muslims to break the fast with water and dates. It’s a sensible way to break the fast – dates are high in minerals and glucose which help alleviate dehydration and contain tanin, which helps with stomach problems arising from fasting.

After breaking the fast, Muslims then pray before eating the main meal of the day. (Some people have a second, lighter, meal later in the evening). This is a lovely time to drive on normally busy streets! The busiest place is the Corniche, with many families choosing to break their fast under the palm trees at the sea front.

All this fasting doesn’t mean that there is no fun to be had. Feasts are laid out at night, and music and entertainment is laid on. Indeed, sometimes it seems more eating takes place during Ramadan than at normal times, and certainly some people put on weight during Ramadan!

Ramadan tents are also opened at the major hotels, and whirling dervishes are a popular feature at these tents. Expatriates and visitors of other religions are welcome to join in this feasting.

The Night of Power

The last ten days are the most important to Muslims and a time of prayer and meditation for many.

The most important night is Lailut-Ul-Qadr, the 27th night of Ramadan, or the night of power, when the first verse of the Koran was revealed to Mohammad. According to Mohammad, this night is more important than a thousand months. Some Muslims spend the entire night in prayer.

Non-Muslims in Ramadan

Non-Muslims are not required to participate in the fasting, although it’s advisable to show respect in public places, and to eat in private. At private clubs expatriates are usually required to eat indoors, out of public view.

Food and drink during the day can be obtained at hotels (travelers are exempt for fasting) and some clubs, although the sale of alcohol is banned for the duration of the month. However, expatriates with alcohol permits can enjoy an increased alcohol allowance in the month prior to Ramadan. Avoid visiting the off-licence on the day before Ramadan – the queue can stretch round the shop, out the doors, round the car park and onto the road. The off-licence is not open on the first day of Eid – again, when it does open expect huge queues.

Tips

Do say:
Ramadan Mubarrak / Ramadan Kareem (Roughly equivalent to Happy Ramadan).

Don’t say:
I’m starving. Pass the biscuit tin, will you?

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