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Anyone living in Dubai/Abu Dhabi/Gulf States?

post #1 of 142
Thread Starter 
DH has mentioned the possibility of us moving to Dubai next year or the year after. I have lived in Abu Dhabi for a six month period but that was without kids. Any tips on what it is like there with kids? Are there any things that kids can do besides swimming? My DD (at 3.5) is enrolled in theatre, swimming and ballet where we live now and I am thinking that options will be a lot more limited in the Gulf...
post #2 of 142
There will probably be plenty of stuff for kids to do. I didn't have kids yet when I lived there, but all the families who did seemed to be pretty busy. Swimming, soccer, and dance classes at least.

It does depend on *which* Gulf state, though...Dubai and Abu Dhabi will be fine but I don't think you'd find much to do in Qatar...
post #3 of 142
I am also interested in knowing about expat children in Dubai. I may be considering a move there, and as it is, my children have really enjoyed karate, swimming lessons, Indian dance lessons, choirs, Scouts, and so so much more.

Also, can anyone tell me about the expat community, and how they view mixed race marriages? (Indian and Caucasion (american). I don't want to be in a situation where my family and I are isolated due to our mixed races. Are people fairly open there, and how about work for wives?
post #4 of 142
we too are comtemplating a move to dubai we just spent three weeks on my dad's insane compound (theme parks, country club, golf, spa, malls....)and realised compound living ain't so bad its actually kinda nice sense of community....

http://www.gulfnews.com/home/
http://www.gulfnews.com/uaessentials...ide/index.html

In my research its easy for wives to find work as they don't need to be sponsored as they are under their husbands so its cheaper for the employer to hire them.

http://www.dubaicityguide.com/geninfo/kids.asp

There are boyscout troops in Dubai!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emirates_Scout_Association

Not sure about mixed races but they do not have a problem putting preferences for races on job adverts...best to ask someone on the ground in your exact situation.

dance I googled and it seems that there is karate, indian dancing and other lessons http://www.balletcentre.com/classes.htm
post #5 of 142
Hello,

I have a contact who is looking for information about current breastfeeding practice and organizations in the Middle East, particularly the Arab states and specifically Kuwait. If there is anyone on this forum who can assist with networking or providing information about this area, please contact me directly at momsformilk@sasktel.net.

(I am not looking for help of any single mom, this is about breastfeeding promotion and advocacy).

Thanks

Janice

Saskatchewan, Canada
post #6 of 142
Janice,
In Islam breastfeeding is considered a child's right until the age of 2. I just came back from Egypt and asked this question, people said of course it is natural and if a child is not breastfed the child feels the difference...how many mothers actually breastfeed that long...I dunno..

Quote:
Allah Almighty Commanded the mother to breast feed her child for two full years: "The mothers shall give such to their offspring for two whole years
The Noble Quran, 2:233
http://www.answering-christianity.co...st_feeding.htm

Orgs- Unicef, UN, WHO etc..

http://www.bio-medicine.org/medicine...ies-UN-4205-1/
kuwait studies
http://www.emro.who.int/Publications/emhj/0303/13.htm

In Saudi it looks to be higher...Around 94.0% of women initially breast fed their infants, dropping to 40.0% by the infant's 12th month.

Can you imagine 40% one year olds breastfed in America?
I hear its like 15%....maybe they could give us some pointers...
post #7 of 142
wow, thanks for the links. I will take a look at the Kuwait studies while I have my lunch.

I was aware of the Koran quote, as is my contact. I think we are looking at current practices, organized support and where the trend is going.

Thanks again.

Janice
post #8 of 142
my mom used to comment on how even in circles where women were fully covered 'whipping out a breast' to feed a child was not considered immodest..so you'd get women in full cover with a breast out

http://www.acclaimimages.com/_galler...2505-0057.html
http://www.m-mc.org/mmc_search.php?s...GY_102&adv=mat

breastfeeding UAE
http://www.moh.gov.ae/moh_site/dept/...astfeeding.htm

sorry I got carried away with the posters
they are so nice!
http://www.healthcomm.gov.jo/Default...ew=2&xmmid=397

http://www.unsystem.org/SCN/archives/egypt/p102a.gif

http://picasaweb.google.com/global.b...15991985025282

its odd how people here find boobies offensive when breastfeeding a babe but not when its sexual nudity..where comming back from Egypt this week shorts are obscene but a boob for baby no big deal

http://breastfeeding.blog.motherwear...g_in_publ.html

heres another cool photo contest on world breastfeeding
http://www.worldbreastfeedingweek.or...otocontest.htm
http://www.tulipgirl.com/mt/archives...the_world.html
scroll down theres a really neat black and white on tandem nursing..
post #9 of 142
Well, we're visiting the States at the moment, but we live in Sharjah or Ajman! A bit far from Abu Dhabi and not Dubai, but close enough.
post #10 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jyotsna View Post
I am also interested in knowing about expat children in Dubai. I may be considering a move there, and as it is, my children have really enjoyed karate, swimming lessons, Indian dance lessons, choirs, Scouts, and so so much more.

Also, can anyone tell me about the expat community, and how they view mixed race marriages? (Indian and Caucasion (american). I don't want to be in a situation where my family and I are isolated due to our mixed races. Are people fairly open there, and how about work for wives?
There are tons of things! If you're in Dubai it's even better! In the Mall of the Emirates there is an Arts Centre where children can do drama, drawing, ceramics, painting and drawing classes, rhythm drumming (I saw it on hersay, which is our local womens talk show, sort of like The View or something), etc. You can get ice skating lessons, skiing lessons (I'm pretty sure they do that at Ski Dubai in the Mall of the Emirates), dance lessons, hockey, horseback riding, karate, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, etc. Plus there are tons of clubs that do things.

In Sharjah there is the British Club, which is what we've always called it (I think the real name is the Wanderers) - it's a really nice place. You buy a yearly membership and they have a lot of the fun things! They do yoga classes, men and womens football (soccer), have a small basketball court and place for tennis swimming pool, restaurant, etc. They do big parties for holidays. There is alcohol allowed there and gambling. Catch is: No Muslims are allowed membership. So, I'm not sure on the religion of your husband as Indians can be many different religions.

Mixed marriages is totally fine. I know a girl with an Indian boyfriend, Mil is married to a man who is a Yemini/Somalian local, etc. Tons of mixing and nobody would pick on you for it that I would know of. You can be picked on for being a women at times though.

Work for wives... well, there are jobs available to women on wives visas. I'm on one myself and work. I've seen ads in Gulf News before that hire women on wife visas to work in banks and so on. I'm not quite sure what the actual rules are on it though. I know that the women who work in the nursery my daughter goes to are mostly on wife visas.
post #11 of 142
On the breastfeeding thing, the Dubai Gov't set up a breastfeeding hotline in both english and arabic for mom's to call if they need help, support, or having any breastfeeding questions recently. The had a huge campaign to promote breastfeeding complete with baby onsies that say "Happy breastfed Baby" on them. LOL.

When I had my son in the hospital in Abu Dhabi this last December, they promoted putting the baby to the breast within 20 minutes of birth. They also check with you throughout your stay in the hospital to make sure your aren't having any problems or questions. There is no nursery, all babies room-in. Except, of course, for NICU babies.

They have a breastfeeding clinic in the hospital that you can walk into at any time to get advice and help with breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding is a right of all Muslim children but, unfortunately, the formula companies had done a fabulous job of promoting their product and although most women *tried* to breastfeed, many, many had abandoned it fairly shortly after.

The Govt's in the UAE have been making a dramatic effort to get things back on track, really. I have to say, though, that I have breastfed both in the UAE and Egypt (currently nursing) and have never been in a situation or a place where I didn't feel comfortable nursing.

On a side note, a friend of mine (British, non-Muslim so not covered) was fixing her DD a bottle of formula in a mall in Abu Dhabi one day (she did breastfeed but didn't like to NIP) when a local man approached her and said "Breast milk is much healthier for babies than baby milk". He wasn't aggressive about it or trying to be obnoxious, he was just passing on information. My friend got terribly offended (I'M the mother, who's he to tell me anything about my child, etc) but I thought it was rather sweet.

Also, the malls in Abu Dhabi (I'm not sure about Dubai), very often have "Nursing Rooms" equiped with play areas for older children, comfortable recliner or rocking chairs, foot stools, a table to put a drink or snack on, magazines/books, diaper changing area, very clean, decorated nicely, for Mom's who don't feel comfortable NIP or just want some quiet or a contained area for their kids. But no one looks twice at NIP. Well, except some of the Americans.

Also, about the "mixed" marriage: No one will even notice. You'll blend right in.
post #12 of 142
Thread Starter 
My biggest concern about a move to Dubai would be getting around. I don't drive and I don't recall Dubai having a metro or even a developed bus system. Have things changed since I was last there in 2001?
post #13 of 142
Oh WOW!!

I'm so glad I found this thread.

I live in Dubai so if anyone has any specific questions or needs any info I would be MORE than happy to help! :

As pp's have mentioned, there seems to be a LOT for kids to do- even during the summer when it can get up to 50degrees Celcius here- they have a HUGE campaign called "Summer Surprises" which is VERY geared up towards kids.
There are different activities planned for them every day in almost every major mall.

Most "communities" here will have some kind of "Mommy group" to join too.

In the "winter" here, the weather is just amazing for beaches, swimming pools, dune-bashing, camping in the desert etc.

I would imagine it could feel quite isolating here if you didn't know anyone and didn't make the effort to get out and join these programs though.
The lifestyle here isn't really condusive to going down to the park and meeting other Mamas.

RE: breastfeeding- I have found them to be VERY PRO breastfeeding. I ended up having a c-section and the baby was brought to me ASAP after I got out of theatre for feeding. The nurses came back regularly to check how I was doing without being intrusive. The hospital I delivered at had breastfeeding "classes" every couple of weeks throughout my pregnancy and the place is PLASTERED with posters about the benefits etc.

I have to second though, that the formula companies have definitely carved their niche out in the market here- I would say the ratio of b-feeding to formula feeding Mamas I meet here is about 50/50
But when I go to WBV's, it's not like they're giving me kudos for b-feeding, it's kind of like the "norm", or "expected"...KWIM?

To be honest, I haven't actually *seen* many Mamas NIP, but as was stated before, ALL shopping centres have "Mother's rooms" where there is a changing table, comfy chair, area for kids (with little sink for little handwashers ), and those places are normally pretty full of nursing Moms.

IMHO, there is a HUGE race/class distinction going on over here. This is just from *MY* personal experiences, but Indian people are not always treated very well here.
Indians and Pakistanis generally make up most of the unskilled work-force over here, are paid what I consider to be slave wages, and alot of the time seem to be treated as second-class citizens; even those with higher educations in corporate settings.
I'm not saying this is ALWAYS the case, but I just want people to be aware
I am South African BTW, this is just my observation.

As for the work visas- alot of companies PREFER to hire a woman that is on her Husband's visa, because then the company will not have to pay for it/organise it, which is the norm here.
I have been here for 6 years and have worked for most of that time on DH's visa with NO worries.
Although you will need a "letter of consent" signed by your DH to allow you to take a job in some circumstances.

About public transport- taxis are probably the most widely used at the moment, for periodic use they are affordable, but I wouldn't reccommend using them every day- it adds up!
They do have a bus service, but from what I've heard, it's not always reliable and up until very recently, the bus-stops were all open so it meant sitting outside in the baking sun for who-knows-how-long...
They are in the process of building new AC bustops now. I think most of them are finished.

The metro-rail is also under construction and is supposed to be finished by 2010 and is also well under way.

Wow- that was long and inverted commas were WAY overused.

Like I said, any questions, just PM me or I will keep checking back here...

that is all
post #14 of 142
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your post, Trancechylde. It was really helpful. I sure hope that if DH gets posted to Dubai, there will be a metro system by then (as well as the air conditioned bus stops!). Regarding schools, do you know anything about the French lycee there? Does it have a good reputation? Is there any other international school there with a French language section?
post #15 of 142
ooh thank you so much trancechylde!
I stalk this thread

Okay here's some specific questions I have...
arts - ballet specifically, my kids and need to keep it up, would finding a dance school or private teacher be difficult?

Quote:
Most "communities" here will have some kind of "Mommy group" to join too.
fill us in what are the mommies groups like there?

Quote:
The lifestyle here isn't really condusive to going down to the park and meeting other Mamas.
I found when we went to see my dad in Egypt that accessing women even to talk to was problematic as the men do a fair amount of socializing (too much compared to here...

Quote:
RE: breastfeeding- I have found them to be VERY PRO breastfeeding.
what about breastfeeding in public? older children? what is the ettique around it?

Quote:
IMHO, there is a HUGE race/class distinction going on over here. This is just from *MY* personal experiences, but Indian people are not always treated very well here.
I've read they think often if you are of a certain ethnicity they will assume you do the job in their minds that corrresponds...you are south african - white? what are your experiences around other races, ethnicities?

Quote:
As for the work visas- alot of companies PREFER to hire a woman that is on her Husband's visa
is it easy to find part time work for a mama? I might want to do a little bit of work here as the kids get older and there but not 40 hours a week are there opportunities like that?

Quote:
They are in the process of building new AC bustops now. I think most of them are finished.
wow wonder what those look like!
post #16 of 142
I'm outside of Dubai in Sharjah. I just found out I was pregnant but I know a lot of other parents here so if anyone is looking for any resources let me know and I can try to get you some info. We're from the US and my husband works here in one of the universities where there are lots of families with small kids. I'm trying to find a midwife in Dubai - anyone know of one?
post #17 of 142
Thread Starter 
I hear that homebirth is illegal in the UAE (or maybe just Dubai). Anyone know if this is true?
post #18 of 142
I just moved from Bahrain but spent some time in Dubai. There are some groups of AUssie moms who have the australian version of La Leche. They also have an online natural parenting group. They are all so nice, when we went over on vacation, they had a coffee morning just because we were going to be there! I never met these women before but they knew I was feeling a bit isolated in Bahrain.
http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group..._parenting_ME/
this is there link. I would have moved to Dubai just to be friends with these ladies! I also know there is a homeschooling group there too.
post #19 of 142
Hi all

Another Dubai mum here!

Such kind words, LukesMum, I suspect I know who you are- hello

Do join us on the Natural Parenting group below, everyone, if you think you may be heading over this way. Just a small, friendly group, always willing to meet other mummas

There is also a UAE forum called Expat woman (or similar...), I don't visit there much as I don't find it terribly friendly, but it may be helpful for some of your questions. You can search through the archives and guaranteed your questions would have been asked before.

I have a toddler and we breastfeed often when out and about. No negative comments at all. We regularly attend the breastfeeding group meetings here too (feel free to PM me whomever was asking about BF in the ME).

I know some women with older children and they seem to have non-stop activities with their kids- ballet, music etc (check out the forum site mentioned above for more info, I don't know much about the older children activities).

Don't know much about French schooling (again, check out the expat forum).

I agree with the previous poster regarding 'mixed marriages'. It is unfortunate that many here assume people from certain ethnicities do certain jobs and therefore are somehow in a different class (ie most of the manual labour is done by people from the sub-continent). But, of course, there are many wonderful, normal people here too who have more cosmopolitan, modern outlooks. Eeeek, I hate talking about this, can you tell I have deleted and re-written the last paragraph several times?!?

Homebirth- I went home to have a homebirth. I don't know what would happen if you had an 'oopsie', I don't think there are any midwives here that could/would attend you......I have heard that you would both need to go to the hospital (if the baby came too quickly) to get a birth certificate (and therefore other paperwork) done.

Lots of good and bad here....Happy to talk more if anyone has questions
post #20 of 142
How do you find work in Dubai? We're in the US now and several people have suggested moving to Dubai for a while.
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