All in a Day’s Work
Look around Qatar. Between the construction heap and yellow hats, outside of the large SUVs and men in sharp suits, somewhere in the midst of all the glitz and dust are jobs that make us go, “I’d love to do that!”
We feature four that caught our fancy.
Aqal Maker, Souq Waqif
Hossam comes from Hama, a small town in Syria. He makes Akals or the black cord and tassles that are commonly worn as part of the Ghitra (headdress). His little shop on Souq Waqif’s main street opposite the Information and Tourism Center is not hard to spot.
Hossam does not speak any English, but when we dropped in at his store, he had customers from UAE, who were gracious enough to facilitate a conversation between us. Hossam has been in the market for eleven years now. All his akals are made of wool that has especially been imported from Syria. The akal maker takes upto four hours to make one akal from scratch and between his assistant and him they make upto ten a day. “This is the only store around this area that makes tailor-made akals, most other stores just retail them for fixed prices” the Emirati customer said.
Portrait Painter, Souq Waqif
Abdul Wahab bin Mahdi from the Saudi Arabia has been in Qatar for nearly three months now. A passion since he was just five years old, all he needs to render your likeliness is a photo. Watching him at work is a pleasure; the ease with which he rubs an oil pastel against an eraser before he stains the sheet below his fingers a deep shade of beige, the continuous banter with his subjects and those hanging around him…
Bin Mahdi moved to Qatar three months ago from Saudi Arabia. He has held a number of exhibitions displaying his art in his home country. The cost of a portrait is between QR150 and QR300 depending on the size.
Veterinarian, Canadian Veterinary Hospital
Dr. Nancy Cooper has loved animals ever since she can remember. She grew up around the animals that her grandfather owned in Canada. She was torn between pursuing medicine and her love for animals. “If you combine both, veterinary science is what you get. I even considered pursuing human medicine and having a bunch of pets at home so I could have a normal job and just come home to animals, but I love what I’m doing right now” said Dr. Nancy.
She gave us a tour of her two-year old veterinary facility, which judging by the unopened boxes in the rooms upstairs of the villa-turned-hospital, is still growing. “We accept all kinds of animals, one of the other doctors in our clinic also receives some exotic animals such as macaws, monkeys etc.” The sound of a dog’s yelp punctuates the conversation, as if in agreement. “It’s like preschool in here, all of them are such kids” she chuckles as she speaks of all the animals that the hospital receives.
Parachutist, Qatar Armed Forces
Peter Draper began skydiving as a hobby in 1995 and felt drawn to pursue it as a career. “For 16 years, I practised and studied parachute rigging and worked within the industry as a jump master, instructor, parachute rigger, drop zone manager and rigger/test jumper for a manufacturer,” he said. He was invited to service parachutes for Qatari soldiers whom he worked with during their visit to DeLand, Florida with making and assembling parachute systems. After visiting Doha a few times, he fell in love with the country.
In 2011, he received an employment offer to work for the National Academy of Professional Training while being contracted to the Qatar Armed Forces as their Parachute Rigger/Instructor. He certainly didn’t need to be asked twice.
Over the past two years, the Qatar Armed Forces and Special Forces Group have been expanding their capabilities as military paratroopers and skydivers. Peter works on equipment safety, design of the training programs, consulting on acquisition of equipment as well as instructing and jump mastering where necessary. “I love that I am working on a new project, helping to build a division from the ground up, and I love working for the good of a country that I really admire” added Peter.