Aisha Al Ahmed
Born: 1959, Al Jazeera Al Hamra
Aisha discussed her home, which consisted of three rooms, a bathroom and a wide courtyard. Her entire family occupied one room. The main source of income was the trade of rice and fabrics. Aisha’s day started at 6:00am. She ate breakfast and walked to school. When she returned home after school, she had her lunch and then played on the beach until sunset. Boys and girls used to play together on the beach, playing “giheif”,”teelah” marbles and “suwair” The children were allowed to stay late outside because the area was fairly safe. After playing, Aisha went back home where the neighbors gathered to watch the black and white television, which worked on a generator. After that, if they had any homework they did it and went to sleep. In the summer they went to “khat” for a change.
Aisha lived at Al Jazeera Al Hamra for 25 years and she was used to cooking and washing from an early age because they didn’t have servants. There weren’t any servants at school as well and therefore the students did most of the chores. If the chores at home were too much they would hire ladies to come and wash.
Cars arrived in the 1950s and the most famous were Jeep and Mercedes. As for food, it was cheap and easy to get but there wasn’t much of a variety. Fruits and vegetables were brought from Dubai from time to time. Another point Aisha mentioned is their attire. Girls used to wear pants and Omani “nafnoof” and later in the 1960w they wore skirts and shirts. Girls were not allowed to cut their hair, so Aisha had long hair, which she kept braided.
She also mentioned that her favorite shop was the candy store. As for the Masjid she does not know anything about it except it had been there since before she was born. What she misses most from her childhood is playing with her friends and how the people knew everyone. The neighbors cared for each other and the houses were open to all visitors. She reminisced about the strong bonds between the people, the generous hospitality and the strong sense of community.
Interview and translation by Asma Al Ahmed and Lamya Alshamsi.
Summer 2012, Ras Al Khaimah.