Where Is Home: Bahrain Story #65


#100 Bahrain Stories is the beautiful brainchild of Tanzeel Jabbar-Khadir. As an Australian writer with Indian and Pakistani heritage, Tanzeel relocated to the small Gulf island of Bahrain several years ago and embarked upon a personal project to interview 100 people from all walks of life in her new home. TCK TOWN is proud and excited to be able to share the stories from some of the 100 inspiring people that were interviewed. These stories have even been published as a book. Take a look at the end of this article to find out where you can purchase it. We hope you enjoy this series as much as we do! 

This interview was conducted by #100 Bahrain Stories special contributor, Marie Joubert. 

"We initially declined the opportunity to move to Bahrain. My Spanish husband, our daughter and I were living in Madrid at the time. The idea was to stay there permanently as we wanted to be close to my husband’s family. However, when his employer in Spain closed down, I urged him to find out if the job in Bahrain was still available. As luck would have it, they said they had been waiting for him to call back. Deep down I felt this was to be our next step. It has certainly proven to be a wonderful and expansive adventure so far.

Fascinated by the art and culture of the Middle East after seeing an exhibition in London years ago, I prepared for our move by reading 'My Beautiful Bahrain'. This collection of poems and short stories by the Bahrain Writers Group is about making this island their home. As a traveller and artist, I enjoy exploring the theme of home as a physical and creative space. I like looking at the culture that we share rather than the differences we have. Some of the stories I read were moving and filled me with a deep longing to visit this special place.

I left my family home in Canberra, Australia, when I was in my early 20s. Since then, I have lived in many different kinds of homes—tents, caravans, beautiful homes, small homes, Victorian terrace flats and currently a villa that feels palatial and luxurious. I have learned to move forward to the next place, embracing it with all my strength and enthusiasm, without trying to recreate a home that I have left behind. I've become a global citizen, but occasionally, on a bad day, I feel homeless. I wonder how our daughter will see this transient childhood, even though I am sure she will weave it into something beautiful and grace-filled. 

Alongside my professional life as a commercial market researcher, I have always volunteered to work with young people in a creative way that builds life skills and confidence. Since arriving in Bahrain, I have been conducting art sessions with teenage boys at a school for students with special educational needs. When choosing projects for the students, I look at how I can develop their interests and self-worth. I believe we are all artists and I want to elevate their work to help them gain more independence and teamwork skills. 

It makes me proud to see the silhouettes they've painted on the gym wall. We up-cycled wooden pallets into vertical gardens and the response was amazing. Look for one if you ever pass by the British ambassador's residence! Through the sales of the vertical gardens, we have raised enough money to pay for a 10-pin bowling session and a trip to the cinema. Next we'll be working towards an exhibition of their artwork.

I'm so grateful for the time and space Bahrain has given me to nurture my mind, body and soul. I enjoy yoga, swimming, netball, playing the piano, good food and attending cultural events. I also enjoy the company of some very kind hearted people. This island's beauty, traditions and stories inspire me. I find it peaceful, yet exciting. It's a very special place to live and I feel very privileged to be here."

Interviewee: Beth Noble from Australia, lived in Canberra, Byron Bay, Melbourne, Shanghai, London and Madrid, living in Bahrain.

The #100 Bahrain Stories book is currently available at Neo Books and Coffee and all Jashanmal Bookstores in Bahrain. If you are not in Bahrain and would like to order a copy, please email: storiesbahrain@gmail.com

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