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There were mishaps too. The wife of one of the most distinguished members of the House of Representatives insisted on a close-up visit to a camel and was bitten in an extremely embarrassing area, much to her chagrin.

A Conversation With Frances Meade, Author of Honey and Onions – A Life in Saudi Arabia

And, wonderful events like the visit of the Challenger crew with whom Prince Sultan bin Salman had flown. It was a night when I was particularly proud to be an American watching the enthusiasm with which Dr. The Saudi ladies obviously saw in her the possibilities for all women. We had some very interesting visitors including the Carters and the Bushes.

I always found that the higher the status of the visitor, the easier they were to be kept to a schedule. I remember very well the visit of Congressman Wilson of Texas who brought with him a group of Jewish businessmen, community leaders and their wives. They were people who really had their eyes opened I think. They knew little about Saudi Arabia before their trip, but having the opportunity to visit the country and talk to Saudis affected them. This was rewarding because I think we are such slaves to the media that anything they want to hand us, we lap right up, but a firsthand encounter is the real thing.

Were there any other reactions you can tell us about? Yes, I think that is true. But, I used to make a particular effort to get visitors into the schools, for example, to see what was going on, and to meet the women I was talking about. And, I wanted to get them into social settings, not with the wives of the top-level people but with women who were doing interesting things or were housewives who were educated or educating themselves. There were many of those.

They do it in a very low-key way because that is the way it is done, but they have achieved a great deal individually and as a group. The business about the election coming up and that women are going to be excluded from voting actually surprised me. I think ultimately, the vote will come for women. This week, we got an annual report from the U. So, again, these are incremental steps, but I think we ought to stand back a bit and accept a society that moves incrementally.

After all, it did take a very long time in the United States.

Beekeepers Society warns consumers against contaminated honey in local markets

I think our expectations are a little high about a relatively young country, and I have great hopes for the things that women will ultimately achieve in Saudi Arabia. Unfortunately, we in the West only see the picture of a veiled woman. We, I think, emphasize the wrong thing. One of the things I have been doing, in connection with the exhibitions of my Bedouin jewelry collection, is to speak to various groups. It is something that belongs to women and represents what they own. Bedouins were traveling people.

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But, this belongs to a woman. Nobody else, not her husband, has a right to it. She is strictly in control.

They are so shocked to imagine that this is possible. We go on from there to the kind of independence that women value and how it is reflected in their lives, particularly those who are very hardworking. Certainly, the nomadic tribes are hardworking. Are there any perceptions of Saudi Arabia that may be circulating that strike you as erroneous based on your experience in the Kingdom? The first thing that occurs to me is the prevalent notion that Saudi Arabians are an enemy or that they are out to get us.

We probably would not say the same thing about the Italians if there had been 15 Italians on the planes. We would say these are 15 terrible people who happen to be Italian. But, somehow, the entire Kingdom and its people have become the objects of our antipathy. I can only judge by my own experience, and I was there about this time last year. We met not only with officials but also with friends and with people in public places like the souk. What I saw was that people are simply leading their lives. Meanwhile, Americans here are making enemies out of people who are victims in much the same way that we are.

In a recent interview, Wyche Fowler, who served as Ambassador to Saudi Arabia from to , told us many Arabs are frustrated and resentful about the U. Do you see that happening in Saudi Arabia? I think the Saudis have always — certainly in my experience — recognized the value of individual foreigners rather than their governments.

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I particularly remember when during the war when tempers were pretty high in general, there was no problem for us as individuals with our Saudi friends. For one thing, they are not going to experience living and studying in the United States. Their predecessors came here in droves for education. Since the Saudi university system burgeoned during the s, many stopped coming for undergraduate work, but they still came to study in American graduate schools. Sadly, those who still come for graduate work are gradually being turned away because it is so difficult to get visas.

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What are we going to see when this generation takes over with a very narrow vision of life because they have gone from kindergarten through advanced degrees in their own country and within their own culture? They may only have seen the Western world firsthand on holiday, which is probably not the best way.

Are American businesses still enthusiastic about Saudi Arabia or are they concerned about the security situation? Obviously, American companies are continuing to work there. I think they are finding it harder to get people to go. I was doing consulting work for Lucent, cross-cultural training for their employees going to Saudi Arabia. Well, that has completely dried up. I can understand why.

Beware of the honey trap

The present climate is pretty difficult to deal with. Americans who are living there and who have been living there, of course, adapt. This is life as it is lived. Externals may change, but your life goes on just the same.

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But, that is a hard sell for an American family. Now, you may be getting American men on bachelor status. I am sure there are fewer and fewer American families that are going. Certainly, the American school is a barometer with a student population predominantly of Asian and Middle Eastern students. So, you can tell in what direction things are going. In fact, the school celebrated its 40th anniversary this year.

I was asked to send a video describing what the school was like in its early days. They sent me some wonderful videos in return. It was a delightful exchange. Its name has changed again. My biggest concern is the younger generation. I think there is no question that there is going to be a division. There has to be. It was just a remote place that had no connection to me. In a sense, it is the human face of America that they are missing.

This is what many of the leaders in the present-day government enjoyed. Anne and I were married and our son was born. Could I have picked a worse time? I've done some minor consulting with a local firm, but current conditions are not conducive to significant projects being initiated - thus, I've had a lot of involuntary "spare time".

In the interim, I have spent a significant amount of my time researching and learning things that were not taught in school which is a subject unto itself that I will need to know to proceed in this career. I have been able to organize my thoughts as to what I believe are important issues and how I would like to address them in my efforts to contribute something meaningful while I'm around.

Galleries Florida - SSA. Florida - Early Modern. Architecture and Water Architectural Design Profile. Designing and Understanding the Human-Nature Connection. Developments from the Work of Theodor Schwenk. Planning, Building and Designing with Water. Constructing The Contemporary Landscape. Ecology, Community and Delight: An Inquiry into Values in Landscape Architecture. Out in the Blue: Letters from Arabia The ministry has provided financial support to beekeepers in the form of loans, but 90 percent of farmers who benefited from the loans have had their bees destroyed by imported bees.

Al-Matrafi asked the ministry to write off those loans as beekeepers would not be able to pay them back. Saudi Arabia has the world's longest honey season, which lasts for 11 consecutive months. Beekeeping is particularly concentrated in the popular in Hijaz, Tihama and Najd as well as in the extreme north and south of the country. The best types of bees are in Madinah. Unfortunately they are facing extinction. Beekeepers have called on the authorities to adopt queen banking, a technique for caring for queens prior to introducing them into new hives, to strengthen the beekeeping and honey production industry, Al-Matrafi said, adding that care must be take to choose the best varieties of queens.

Beware of the honey trap. Beekeepers Society warns consumers against contaminated honey in local markets.