In December 2002, I left my home in Bahrain to go pursue my college education in Utah, America. At that time, I did not think I would be gone for more than a few years. However, that was not to be. As life, love and two kids happened, trips to Bahrain were postponed. Each year, I said to myself, next year. I will make it next year. Each year, something happened that postponed the hope. This post is filled with words like “amazing” “great” and “awesome”, and to be honest there are few words that could describe this trip.
Last month, I finally returned home. I was so happy to see the country I had been born in and spent my growing 20 years in. More than that however, I saw my dad again after 10 years. The trip was very reminiscing for me as I saw places and people that I had not seen for a very long time. It was amazing too to finally introduce Yeah to my life so that he could see the past that had made me what I am today. The kids too had never been to Bahrain and had met my mom when they were much younger and never met my dad. My parents were so excited to see their only grandchildren and needless to say spoiled them rotten. The kids had a wonderful time.
Bahrain has changed immensely since I left. The country, which is home to the US Fifth Naval base, is also oil rich. Bahrain is known as the Pearl of the Gulf for its beautiful cultured pearls. It houses a rich mixture of people from many countries and the expatriate community remains the majority compared to the Bahrainis. Growing up, I had the wonderful opportunity to mingle with people from different cultures and countries. The scene has not changed much in terms of Bahrain’s diversity. If anything it has intensified. Bahrain’s own culture has been very much affected by the explosion of people from different countries that call Bahrain home.
Despite the temperatures climbing easily to 43°C(110F) and 27% humidity, we kept ourselves occupied with visiting my parents and friends. We also got to go to a dolphin park, the Al Areen wildlife reserve and some ancient ruins in Bahrain. Visiting Bahrain’s only public beach Zallaq (Al Jazaer Beach) brought back a lot of fun memories and it was a beautiful thing to share that experience with the kids.
I also got to celebrate my 29th birthday and Carmen’s 4th birthday. Needless to say we were spoiled rotten, especially Carmen who got a princess cake.
Yeah was recently appointed as a Special Envoy to represent the Prime Minister of Mali. A warm welcome and meetings were kindly arranged for him by the Bahrain American Council President, Dr. Al Khalafalla. Dr. Al Khalafalla has been an amazing support to Yeah. Yeah was received at the airport by a member of the royal family, Sheikh Abdulla, whose kindness throughout his trip displayed the warmth of the Bahraini people to visitors.
On the 29th of July, Yeah was presented with an award for his work in human rights by the Manama Center for Human Rights. While in Bahrain, Yeah met with key Bahraini officials like Bahrain Foreign Ministry’s Bilateral Relations Director Dr. Dhafer Al Umran and Khaled Abdulla Al Merbati at the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce & Industry(BCCI) in an attempt to strengthen Mali’s ties with Bahrain and also encourage increased Bahraini investments in Mali. In addition he gave a number of interviews like this one: http://www.dt.bh/newsdetails.php?newsid=300712191005&key=301110213450
Now we are back in Mali. We were very sad to leave. The kids are ready and excited to start school. This will be the first year for Carmen as she attends preschool. We are ready to continue our fight to push Mali back on track to democracy and help our people return home.
This was an amazing trip and words cannot adequately express my joy that I could finally return home and link my past to my present. All I can say is it will not take me 10 more years before I return home.