When I first came to Saudi back in 2015, it was almost like a whole different world. The kingdom was still a closed, almost secretive society. The Ha’ia roamed the streets, looking for people doing something they shouldn’t be doing. Women weren’t allowed to drive! It was a very strict place, and to top it all off, I wasn’t in Riyadh back then. Nope. My original placement was in the ultra-conservative Qassim region.
When I tell people in Riyadh I lived in Qassim, they give me this weird look, like “why?” It doesn’t have the best reputation due to it’s conservatism. But while it may be a bit orthodox in it’s ways, it wasn’t a bad life there. In fact, I quite miss it. Dare I even say I enjoyed living there more than I enjoy living in Riyadh?
There IS one thing I hated about my time in Qassim, though… I really hated being forced to wear niqab. It was uncomfortable, especially in the extreme heat they have here. I would often get a headache wearing it. When I left Qassim, I told myself I would never wear Niqab again….. Until the Coronavirus pandemic hit.
Now that there is a coronavirus outbreak, I never leave the house without my face covered. Okay, so maybe it isn’t as extreme as a niqab, but it definitely brings back all my niqabi memories. And it also doesn’t take the place of a niqab. I have seen more than one niqabi wearing lady with a face mask peeking out, right below her eyes. It is uncomfortable to wear it, but I don’t want to get sick, and I wouldn’t want to risk infecting others in case I am sick and don’t know it.
How are you guys handling this pandemic? Are you wearing any protective gear? Is protective gear easily accessible in your area? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!