Saturday, March 12, 2011

Allah and Soldier

Our last evening in Nizwa was interesting. I learned to pray, and got the whole “come to Islam” speech. It was the same tactic I have heard people use for Christianity “If you aren’t in the club, you are going to hell, and I think you are a good person, so come to Islam because I don’t want you to go to fire.” I have been to this region either four or five times depending on evacuation count and only now was personally taught to pray. It was pretty moving, and one could definitely feel something. I do not consider myself a Muslim, but have a new appreciation for the religion which encompasses and dictates so much of my life here.
On the complete opposite end of religious devotion we are still living with 20 year old boys who can’t talk to women. They are curious, and asked “In America, you can make sex with any woman you want, right?” Uh, not exactly. On the way back to Muscat we were asked the same question at a University we stopped at for a cultural exchange. We explained that the movies and music videos they watch are made for Americans, and thus are not a mirror to American society, but entertainment fantasy.
We stopped at a natural hot springs and a fort (I have been doing lots of fort shopping this past week) on the way back after our second university visit. A very old man was sitting at the entrance nodding and greeting people. He looked to be at least 80, and was dressed in traditional interior clothing: ammunition belt, and knife. I gave the standard greetings when we passed to go have a quick dip in the only hot tub (hot springs-which had benches carved into the rock) I can find south of Spain. I had my hat on, a t-shirt and have grown a beard; I definitely would not be associated as military. However as we were leaving, I was lagging behind to talk to some of the Omani students with us and say our goodbyes. As I approached the seated old man, we made eye contact. He stood up, and rendered a perfect Omani (British, open hand) salute. I snapped to attention and returned it in our fashion. That moment engulfed me in something more than the religious teachings ever could. I felt a connection to that man’s sacrifice and love for his country. It has been a few days since the experience, but I still feel completely overcome by it.

No comments:

All Drake bloggers are compensated for their time. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Drake University.