Wetskills-Oman 2020 – by Buthayna Al Ghafri –
Today (Sunday 8th March) was the first day of working on the Wetskills program at Sultan Qaboos University. Nathalie (as Dutch participant) was picked up by a small fan to travel to the University Campus. For Nathalie the University looked incredibly clean, white and luxurious, and it was already clear that she would get lost several times the coming week since all buildings looked the same. Walking across the buildings she was impressed by the signs “Female Students Walkway Only”, although she already knows that women and men are more separated in the Arabic world, it is still different when she experiences her herself.
After the struggle to find the Wifi password for non-SQU staff, and a short introduction we would choose the groups. The group gathered although all members have different backgrounds. Noura is a lecturer from the National University of Science and Technology, Buthayna is a researcher in Nanotechnology Research, Nathalie is working in water management and Hanaa is a fresh graduated with Water Technology major. We all will work on a Visual Based Learning strategy (which is basically a movie) to teach young Omani about water management in their country.
We had to select a suitable picture out of a big pile, with which we would have to introduce ourselves to our new team members. Noura picked up her favorite picture, the Chinese Wall, and she told a story about the importance to build on people before building a wall. Buthayna Picked up the picture of wastewater discharge in the urban county as she’s currently working on Wastewater treatment using Nanotechnology science. Nathalie was hoping to pick up a picture with a bike (since she loves biking across the Netherlands) and was very disappointed it was not there, and Hanna picked up her favorite place which is the Island in the middle of the sea. It was fun to get to know the team members (all Omani except Nathalie). Then we received a very nice souvenir (Dutch clogs) from Dutch guy. The funny thing that Omanis thought that Dutch are busy to the extent that they don’t have time to have a cup of coffee.
After lunch, six water-related experts visited us, to talk about our case. Although we realized we would need focus for our project, we had several inspiring conservations about several water management issues in Oman. We left university tired, satisfied and a bit lost about what we will actually do with our case and while moving to our apartments/hotel respectively.