Mohammed and following one’s dream. I am not talking about Mohammed the prophet – Peace Be Upon Him – who once promised a bounty hunter whilst being a fugitive to hand in King of Persia’s’ bracelets. Talk about a mission that was fulfilled and a vision that was lived!
I am also not talking about Mohammed al-Razi; a celebrated scholar known to be a chemist, an alchemist, a physicist and a polymath. Nor am I talking about Mohammed Igbal, a poet whose poems spread throughout the Indian subcontinent and sang for hundred times by great men such as Gandhi.
Those who enjoy fine music might be under the impression that I am writing about Mohammed Abd el Wahab, a famous Egyptian composer, whose tunes still play to remind us that music soothes the beast within. And do forgive my words that may have led you to think that I’ve meant Mohammed Ali; “Sportsman of the Century” Oh no I am not talking about any of these mohammeds.
The Mohammed I meant is none other than my friend, a 19 year old Qatari kid, who walked with me through the alleys of the Exhibition center on fine a day that I will always remember. On a day that I have decided to write about, to you..
yes, You .. the reader,
yes You.. Tomorrow’s leader.
“Mohammed sit down and tell me what is it that you enjoy?” I asked.
“I enjoy languages, yes helping those in need and being around kids too” he replied.
I looked around and “Well, there are no circuses here! So you are not becoming a clown today” I sarcastically said.
“Wait a minute..How about working at a hospital?”I asked again. It seemed like fate that we stood in front of a medical institute’s booth.
“You know Raed, I have always wanted to become a nurse, quiet uncommon I know, but to relief a pain and transform a sad face to happy one is what I always wanted” he revealed to me with somewhat a worry face that I would think that this is not manly enough. “
Well, a nurse you shall be then.” I smiled as I walked towards the booth. “Excuse us” I have looked around, happy that I will make a change in one’s life. “Someone’s dream will come true today, oh hurray!” Silly me to have ever thought that. There, from his throne he descended, and from his fine chair he departed to acknowledge our existence. The official in a white thobe, our countryman yes our angel and our hope.
“Allow me to introduce to you our sponsoring package and what a fine package it is.” He boastfully said.
A lucrative offer he made, one that Mohammed opened his jaws at and one that made me think, “perhaps it’s not too late to throw away years of engineering and pursue a medical career myself.”
“Pardon my naivety; can this young man enroll in your program?” I pointed at Mohammed.
“Well sure he can, have you taken the TOFEL?”
“Yes, sir and I did pass.” Mohammed replied with joy, it’s a step towards his dream.
“And, are you married?” “No…Not yet” to which I have interrupted “is that bad? I mean if you guys need only married people, we will get this young man married in no time!” The Hr personnel laughed, and we all did. It was a good atmosphere!
He went on and told us that it’s not a problem at all. “GREAT.. a step closer” I thought to myself. But I was thrown miles away by the following statement:”well then all he needs to do, is get us an admission letter of any of the universities listed by the Supreme Council of Education”
“Pardon me again, Mohammed has the TOFEL, he has all the papers you ask of him”
“Good for him, all he needs to do now is apply.”
“Mohammed, you go ahead and apply and once you get accepted I will personally guarantee your scholarship.”
“How am I to go about it?” Mohammed asked and was puzzled as I was.
“But he was not trained on how to write that essay, he does not how to apply!” My frustration grew at my fellow countryman. “YOU, of all people should know! Were you trained to apply to a western university? Is that why you fail to see?”
“I am offering thousands, future and better prospect and all I ask in return is an admission letter from a university”
“Kieta.. “ (Disappeared in Japanese) I heard Mohammed whisper with a smile, my giant friend whose eyes dazzled with hope a minute ago.
“You wait for a minute.” I commanded Mohammed in an irritated manner, and looked at my fellow countryman who handed out his business card in a “you have a good one, now leave” gesture .This person whose body was a punch away and whose mindset was far lost in dark ages. “Wait… Wait, how is it that you are taking any risk? And how much can this whole process cost your organization? Please don’t kill his dream. Give him a chance, you should… “I started rambling trying to hold on to any string of hope. “
Can we go, this is embarrassing” Mohammed looked at me with piercing eyes, and now that I remember this looked like a classical
“But even the dogs eat scraps that fall from their masters’ tables.” Scene. Unfortunately, the person whom we have ask these crumbs of hope was not as generous and never will be.
“It is your right to be given a chance, it isn’t a charity bestowed.” I angrily answered without missing a beat.
“close yet so far “he answered and that was how it ended as we faded away.
On that day I have learned how hopes can be crushed, how dreams can be destroyed and how spirits can be killed. And when thousands of Mohammeds lived to see their dreams come true, my friend Mohammed didn’t even get the chance to.
I am selfish, I have to admit for I thought of my unborn kids should they ever fall ill I just wanted the likes of Mohammed to look after them. Because I know they will look after them passionately and not as a mean to get their next paycheck. I do apologize, as I would like to come clean.
And to those of you who wonder what ever has become of my friend?
Well Mohammed now is an operator at a reputable petrochemical organization, where he has become part of a percentage that can impress officials and attract yet another citizen whose dreams were never meant to be.
2010/03/29 - 08:30 م
Right when the scholarship system changed from ‘pack & show up at the airport and we take care of you’ to ‘apply, get acceptance, BEG for support and we might process your application’ was the time I graduated from high school in 2002! That was the transition year (with approved universities list, no Arab university scholarships, no MOE, no cultural attache, etc). I’m surprised you expect that kinda support from sponsors these days.
I agree that there’s lack of awareness among students & I wouldn’t blame anyone but myself who have gone through the process. That gave me some ideas.. anyways..
The question is, What’s next? How is Mohammed going to react? Take his dream the one step further? (sensible) Take the best of his alternative options? (not necessarily a bad choice. I’ve done that and couldn’t be happier) Give up? (I hope not!) Given what I have seen (and you know it well) what he experienced is a small hump in the way. Things could be worse. Look at the bright side, he’s a man & the sky’s his limit
2010/03/29 - 09:12 م
I have to agree with Haya, and agree with the system, it’s not like he can’t find someone to teach him how to apply, and he is still holds a Qatari citizinship that allows him to dream of a chance that others born and raised on this country and know no other home can only dream of,
yes, the HR guy should of directed him to any kind of resources to help him register with any unversity, but that was a problem with that guy not the system,
I don’t understand why things should go one way or the other! he just changed his mind and took the easy way out?
there’s probably more to his story, maybe he need the paying job? I don’t know,
2010/03/30 - 08:25 ص
I see where you both are coming from, allow me to highlight the following:
Based on my personal experience Qataries can be grouped into four categories:
1- Smart with Potential. (there is an increasing trend of those I would like to think)
2- Smart without Potential (there are tons of those, the ones who know how to speak English but lack discipline and willingness to learn) They can also be thought of as evolved group 4.
3- Not so smart but with potential. (I am here)
4- Dumb couch potatoes. (they actually look for environment that suits their needs, live from a paycheck to another and are likely to have committed to serious banking loans because of stocks escapade!)
And while it is easy to entrust the 1st group with what their doing, ignore the 4th along with what they stand for. A mass majority exists in between the 2nd , and the 3rd groups.
The likes of Mohammed, who never had proper career guidance, skill development and where not aware of any change taking place are the ones that I feel personally responsible for. They are good, they represent hope that needs to be looked after (seriously Raed, what is this getting in touch with my feminine side early in the morning?)
Okay Qatar has a unique blessed situation especially when the matter is Benjamin related. We can afford to have visions that are 20 years away, and milestones that are mountain high only a decade from now. We can afford aspiring to all that.
We need to invest in people, am not saying we do not, we sure are however I would like to see an effective focused approach to it. Really now how much would it have cost this multi-billion organization to have a pre-screening assessment made and then work together with the candidates to achieve their goals?
Shut me up already… Thoughts anyone? ladies? Anyone?
P.S : I still enjoy Dunkin Donuts coffee. God bless capitalism, and long live franchising as long as it guarantees the same taste all throughout am a happy camper.
2010/03/30 - 10:23 ص
Leave the multi-billion organization alone. Someday they’ll wake up & smell Dunkin Donuts coffee. Their HR needs serious help & I concluded that after the 6th time they got my CV and decided to meet with me to ask: what’s wrong with you? Oh well..
Even with the structured guidance I received, still I needed peers’ help. There was a group of student, God bless them, one year ahead of my class, who figured out the system, went through the process and made it. They felt responsible to visit our class, arrange small sessions and walk us through the process for a year. We got generous advice, contacts, and reminders of important deadlines in different countries, and much more. I guess the point is, career guidance should come sincerely from us, informally, with follow up which seemed to have good effect on many who got it. That at least could be the immediate solution, inspire people while you can. Next, when our generation & the next generation absorb the approach, systemize it. It’s tough to think of everything as your responsibility, but with everyone functioning by only what’s on their JD, we won’t see 2030!