Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Kuwait's Fabulous Tourism Plans

I've been around the Kuwaiti block a few hundred thousand times and seen quite a few "new ideas" resurrected.  So, without further adieu... here we go again.

Today's news story, "Government eyes tourism as new source of income:  Minister."
(Read the full story here because I'm too bored to re-print it.)

(Sound of me, snoring...)

No, really?

In 2004 [yes, that's right - 2004.  As in TWELVE (12) years ago], Kuwait announced its 20-year plan for ... what?... TOURISM.  (Read about that here.)

And again in 2010 it was talked about.  (Read about that one here.)

Kuwait is GREAT at planning.  And talking.  And discussing.  And arguing. And procrastinating.  It's not so great at what?.... TOURISM.

For one thing, during my multiple trips around the block in Kuwait, I have come across only 2 tour companies of legitimate quality.  I only recommend one, and it is a small, non-governmental group of private Kuwaiti citizens who actually use their own private funds to buy little souvenir gifts for special customers. (They go by "Naronda or  Morqab Tours. 6009-0364. See my blog post about them HERE.)

For the next issue:  Kuwait needs to take a much closer look at its infrastructure FIRST.  Just last month, they didn't want to let people over 50 into Kuwait.  That is kinda sucky for tourism, isn't it? And official hotel packages have not been offered/allowed to SINGLE women in the past.  Many nationalities aren't allowed in Kuwait.  Can the airport accommodate tourism?

And I sincerely do not mean any disrespect to those who want to resurrect the concept of tourism to Kuwait.  I applaud them. I wish there were a lot more of them.  I just wish they would get it all going; like, ten years ago.

What Kuwait needs are people who are passionate about it's history and heritage.  (I am and I'm not even Kuwaiti!)  I wish a committee would go to Qatar and see what they have done with the Msheireb Museum.  

I really wish that Kuwait would start collecting oral histories from elder Kuwaitis to get a feel of how Kuwait used to be.  I talk to these people.  They recount the days of pearling and dhow building and getting water from wells (and I'm talking recent history - like 60 years ago).  THAT is the kind of talk Kuwait needs.  Teach the younger generations - and teach expats what Kuwait truly is; not just shopping malls and driving around in flashy cars.  Tell the grandparents' stories.  Who are your people?  Where are you from?  What makes this country unique?  What's your color, Kuwait? (Shloanik, Kuwait?)

Even the long-time expats in Kuwait are still discovering the country - and getting very little help doing it unless you are out there exploring yourself.  It's hard.  I wish the Government would really help people get to know the country they're living in (and in a language, perhaps, that they can understand?)  A lot of us don't hear about what is going on in Kuwait until it's over because of poor advertising or advertising only in Arabic.

Where is Kuwait's visitors center?  Website?  Why isn't there one?  Why don't they have brochures of local activities?  Gee....

I could go on and on.

Pinkies Salon: At-home services for women in Kuwait

My American friend opened Pinkies years ago when her mother came to visit her in Kuwait.  Her mother isn't able to get around easily and my friend didn't know of any salons that offered at-home service.  Now, there are several, but Pinkies was a pioneer in Kuwait and in my opinion, the best.

I literally have a well known spa in the same office building where I work, but I don't like to travel after a massage and traffic in Kuwait is one of the most stressful things with me.  I called Pinkies for a mani/pedi and a full body massage.

Here is what the Pinkies bring:  Fresh towels, fresh natural rose petals, all equipment including massage table and warmer for paraffin pedicure (which I love), foot massage machine, and a refreshment service which includes tea, chocolates, cookies (Lotus - yummm!) and scented candles.  The 2 women literally rolled in with 4 suitcases and a massage table.

The ladies arrange the tea service

Full body massage is less than you would pay in a spa (20KD).  It was wonderful AND I got to shower and then take a nap because it all happened in my house.  I had my own "refreshments", candles, and music.  So tranquil and relaxing.

The ladies are very discreet and are not allowed to discuss other clients or their homes.  That is an issue in Kuwait as gossip is one of the main forms of communication here.  They show up on time and need very little direction.

Book an appointment at 9718-9700.  They also have gift certificates if you would like to give a service as a gift.

Burt Reynolds Introduces the NEW Bandit Trans Am

I had a 78 TA with the bird and racing slicks, but everyone lusted after the 77 bandit.  That was the car to have.

My friend, Laurie, sent me the article on this limited edition this morning.  I very seldom have the type of reaction I did while watching this clip - goosebumps and tears in my eyes.  I WANT this car. It's a TA based on a Camaro (even more lovable!).   I should have been a guy - I swear.  This car does it for me.  (I'm sure some of you out there will not understand or appreciate my reaction, but some will....those are my kindred spirits.)

840HP  7.4L LSX V8 and only 77 in production. The price starts at $115,000, but with so few in production, I am willing to bet it will be double that if not more.

And Burt Reynolds - I don't care HOW old the man gets, he is still a hottie.

Sigh (all the way around).

Monday, March 28, 2016

Respect the court

I'm with my lawyer and about 50 other people in a small courtroom in Hawalli waiting for part deux of my rental case. Everyone is here on time but the question on everyone's mind is, "When will they start?"

This is the problem. As my new lawyer said, "I was told last week to be in court at 8:30 am. The judge didn't arrive until 12:30." The lawyers are there. The clients are there (people not being paid to sit there for hours on end). Why don't the people who should symbolize leadership in the court system have respect for the legal institution here?  

I have really enjoyed reading about snap inspections by the Minister and Undersecretaries (basically, Vice Ministers) from the Ministry of Interior. They are checking various locations to see if ministry employees are on duty and performing correctly. And catching those who aren't.  Perhaps the Minister of Justice should consider doing the same in courtrooms around Kuwait. 

And if the judges aren't going to show up on time (are hours late), might someone consider the purchase of comfortable chairs? I almost need a wheelchair to leave the place!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Local Contracting: Army V Air Force

While I'm on the subject of contracting:

Why is it that the only time I see a US Air Force solicitation published on FedBizOpps is when they are looking for sponsorship for social activities?

Strong Man Contest Request for Sponsorship

There have been some pretty big contracts out there and WHO determines who the RFPs are e-mailed to?  For as long as I've been doing contracting in Kuwait (20 years now), this is the "system".

The Army used to have the same system. (They actually had the hard copy 10-page  Heavy Lift I RFP on their bulletin board outside Camp Doha.) That type of request for quotes didn't work for them.   You don't want the perception of impropriety on million-dollar-plus contracts.  The Army has a very strict system and they adhere to it - which is commendable.  All their RFPs are listed and published on FedBizOpps.  They hold "Contracting with the US Army" seminars.  They have handouts.  Not "Industry Days" but proper local contracting conferences.  (And I've never had a contracting officer from the ARMY contact me at night on my cell phone asking for reduced pricing... just sayin....)

I attended a contracting conference (held by the Army) with an Air Force contracting official on the panel.  There was a very passionate American contractor in the crowd asking my same question:  "Why doesn't the Air Force publish local solicitations so that we can all take advantage of fair market practices in contracting?"  BAM.

I have nothing against the Air Force.  I was very tempted to join them back-in-the-day and I wish I had.  But dudes - please.  Help us all out.  E-mailing RFPs to a few vendors isn't helping any of us.

Whutup with KBOSSS?

A reader commented this morning:

"Sorry this is Off subject but what is your take on what is going on with KBOSSS? 1 year extension on top of the other extensions?  (This probably comes as an official DOD notification of extension was just posted on FedBizOpps SEE HERE.)

Nine month plus three month option extension for K-BOSSS Extension Synopsis under FAR 6.302-1 of Base operations support and security support services throughout the Kuwait area of responsibility (AOR)
Solicitation Number: W52P1J10C0062
Agency: Department of the Army
Office: Army Contracting Command
Location: ACC - RI (W52P1J)"  (That's Rock Island,  Illinois.  Far, far from Kuwait.)

Official Announcement of Extensions

Here is my DG personal synopsis in a nutshell. There have been extensions followed by extensions. If  you read some parts of the RFP, it has been cut/paste from 10+ years ago.  Procurement/contracting people change. The situation on the ground in Kuwait/the Region changes.  The people actually writing the RFPs either don't have accurate information or aren't being given it.  

I further think the delays on awarding the contract are because :  

#1 they are waiting for results of the US presidential erections.  If that A-hole gets into office, everything in this part of the world is going to be blown into the stone ages just because he's a racist pig and hates all Moslems.  Therefore, it would require a lot more fire power and logistics and the RFP workload levels would have to be adjusted.  Republicans are going to fund for more military spending.  Democrats are going to fund for more domestic spending (like edumacation, healthcare, etc.)  I'm a democrat.  I hope that a democrat gets in and takes a serious  look at educating the illiterate bigots and intolerant racists that are out there procreating as I write this. But hey - that's just me.

#2 those DAESH A-holes:  What are those characters up to and how much stuff are we going to need to eradicate them?  That political scene changes all the  time and it is really for a lot of different factors.  The US Government has to work with regional governments to find out what their plans are, create military agreements (which is like coraling cats).  That political circle could possibly change the RFP entirely.

Right now, it is "wait and see".  I've heard from multiple sources that the incumbent prime contract holder, Vectrus, looks like the fore runner in the race to win. I could be wrong about that - as could the sources I've talked to.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Lawyer Drama

Once upon a time in the Great State of Kuwait there lived a wanna-be lawyer who had a big name, a lot of money and didn't know what to do with it all.  So, she used her cousin's name to open up a law firm where she would practice under the guise of being a real lawyer.  Not.

Drama-lawyer was so greedy that she didn't pay her employees.  Not the lawyers that she recruited from Egypt, supposedly for "training" in Kuwait (but on visitor visas so that she could get rid of them in less than 100 days).  Not the European law assistant who helped Drama-lawyer write her legal papers for law school.  Not the ladies who served coffee and substituted as maids in her home.  No one got paid.

That's the background to our story.

Moving forward - this is the "lawyer" that I chose to assist me in my tenancy case.  For a fee of 600KD (non-refundable regardless of if I fire her or not) plus 10% of whatever settlement money I was awarded, she would handle my case.  But alas, she wasn't handling it at all.  She had given most of the responsibility to the law assistant - who quickly got smart and moved on.  Once that happened, it was up to the non-paid Egyptian lawyer-trainees who did very little.

I wised up when several things happened.

  1. She filed the case in the wrong court. (Shes not a real lawyer. How would she know?)
  2. After repeated requests, she never provided copies of the FIVE police reports I should have.
  3. During several meetings with Not-Lawyer, she never provided me with a status, a plan of action, or anything directly related to my case.  She wanted to talk about her personal life and the personal family case she has been working on.  
  4. She emphatically stated almost every time I went to see her that I might not get anything.  (Ok then, FIGHT for me!  That's why I'm paying  you!)
  5. I went to court.  Found an Egyptian lawyer representing me who didn't know what the status of my case was and who I had never seen before.
  6. DL then called me, shouted at me for having attended court with a translator, who she believed was another legal representative.  

During her temper tantrum on the phone she said emphatically (shouting) that if I didn't want to continue with her, pay the final amount due and be done with it.  Ok fine.  Stop shouting at the client, biotch.  (I have bitch-slapped her in my mind so many many many times....)

So, I called her office to make an appointment with her to settle and sign a release.  She was "too busy" to see me.  Her cousin would see me.  On the day of the appointment, cousin was too busy to see me.  I would be seen by yet another lawyer - Kuwaiti this time. Fine.

I brought Bunny, who is not only level-headed when he wants to be, but also a firey BBB (Big Bad Bedouin) when he gets riled.  Kind of like gettin my Irish up.  Bunny also worked as an interpreter with the Brits in Iraq so he's been trained at determining when people are lying or something is not right.

Bunny and I walked in.  There were 2 Kuwaiti lawyers (I presume they were lawyers... one was tall and flirt-able) in the office - apparently running interference.   No introductions.  There was only one chair for me and they asked Bunny to go outside.   (Why?  Was I going to be interrogated?  Were they planning something bad?)  "We don't need him.  We both speak English."  Uh... sooooo???  They kept asking me what my relationship with him was. (ha!  They must think I'm easily intimidated!!! ha ha ha.   Now I'm pissed and the fun hasn't even started yet.)  'Not your business.  Please get him a chair.'  No move to get a chair.  Time is passing and they are still asking him questions about his relationship to me.  I am DYING to blurt out, 'We are f-ing, ok?!  What do you want?!' (We're not and it would have only been for shock value.)  Still no chair.  I stand up next to Bunny and say, 'If he doesn't have a chair, I don't have a chair.'  They get him a chair.  In runs the Drama queen nutcase, screaming at Bunny, "Who are you?!  Give me your civil ID?  Give me your translator card!"  Whaaaaaaaaaaaaat?  Are we in court?  Who the PHUCK does she think she is?!  She thinks he's a translator?!  He's Kuwaiti in national dress.  WTF.

Wait.... wasn't she "too busy" to schedule an appointment with me?  Why was she there?

This drama all took place even before I knew who the 2 guys were.

Bunny is keeping his calm, but we are holding direct eye contact throughout this and we are both telling each other not to kill someone, using our super-power of telepathy (15 years of good friendship will get you there).

Anyways, we finally got Bunny a chair.  We all sat down.  I asked them who they were they answered only with first names.  I said, 'No, what is your family name?  I like to know who I am dealing with.'  They answered.  I know one of the guys' uncles, cousins, and other relatives.  ('Oh.  Say hello to your uncle, Jamal, for me.')   Ha.  The 2 guys were both decent, but working for a sociopath they have to pretend like they are on the side of someone who is well... unbalanced at the very least. Psychopathic, perhaps.

They started to say something argumentative-sounding and I cut in.  'Let me make this simple.  I'm here to pay you the final installment and to finish business with DL and her office.  I also want a release letter saying I don't owe you anything and  you don't owe me.'  (Seems simple, right? OMG!....)

Drama is running into and out of the office shouting at the top of her lungs about everything and nothing.  My head hurts.  I'm tired. My blood pressure is through the roof.  Can I just pay the money and go?  Bunny is about to blow. I'm about to blow.  I stuff Kleenex in my ears to stop the shrieking of the out-of-control banshee. (Hot lawyer dude sees me do it and sends me a knowing look.)  I say nothing.  I don't want to throw fuel on her temper tantrum.

Greedy wants more money....

On the 5th (or 6th - can't remember) time I went to the police station to file yet another report against my assmonkey former landlord;  I was with The Romanian and the legal assistant (who had become a friend) at the police station.  DL was on the phone with the legal assistant and DL asked where she was.   Assistant told her.  Drama's response was, "Ok. I'll stop on my way home."  She stopped at the station.  She went to the apartment with us and the police officer (as per the procedure).  She almost went over the steps leading down to the apartment because assmonkeys had removed the handrails.  Went back to the station.  She talked for about 45 minutes with the police officers - not about MY case, but about what schools they went to; and about HER.  Drama.  K, so on the way out, DL turns to The Romanian and says, "Oh, by the way, Desert Girl owes me 150 KD for me coming out to the police station."  Whaaaat?!  She never mentioned it to me. She thinks she can just drop that by telling my friend?!  It wasn't in the contract...

Back to the story....

So, the 2 Kuwaiti dude lawyers started talking about the 150 KD I supposedly owe them for her coming to the police station. Me:  'Please show me in the contract where I agreed to that.'  Then Bunny became the focal point.  Gee, for 2 guys who speak English and didn't need him, allofasudden, they be needing him!  Blah blah blah in Arabic (Drama was still screaming in the doorway - even though they shut the door once and she slammed it back open again.)  Bunny to me, "They say it is common practice and you should know about the price."  Tee hee. Really?  Then they should know about my 100 KD per hour consulting fee. It's common knowledge that I'm a business consultant.  I've been sitting there for an hour and a half.  Looks like THEY owe ME 150 KD.  Show me the contract. ....  Point taken.  I don't have to pay.

At least the 2 dudes have common sense (they're going to need it to figure out that they're not going to get paid...)

Drama runs out, runs back in again with a file.  Showing a photo of her former legal assistant (who I know and like and know that Drama queen is blatantly slandering).  Shoving her photo in front of Bunny, "Do you know this woman? Are you sure you don't know this woman?  Desert Girl was her friend.  They partied together...."  Now, what tha phuck?!  You are slandering a friend.  (Legal Assistant left because DL hadn't paid her in SIX MONTHS and then moved an Egyptian family into LA's accommodation.)  But now... you are slandering ME?  What party did I go to?  Why are  you telling this man that you know nothing about.  I'm your CLIENT, you witch!

Bunny to the rescue.

(Turning to the 2 dudes.)  Do you know who she is (turning to me)?  He then went on to tell him my entire history with Kuwait.  Says that he's known me since 1982 (true).  Tells them what I did for Kuwait.  Gulf war stories... etc...

There was really no need other than to piss off Drama.  Both of the dudes were already on my side.  I ask them in a quiet voice if they could please ask her to stop shouting that I had a headache.  I also kept making the sign for "move it along".  Take my money.  Please.  I want out.

Hot lawyer dude asked me why I didn't just leave the case with Drama - it is a simple case. I rolled my eyes at him.  'Does she treat all your clients the way she has treated me now? Does she shout at all her clients?  You witnessed it.  She's out of control.  I just want to get RID of her. I want peace.'

She made me sign 2 release forms - both different (stupid!!!  I can draw up better contracts than you ever will!).  She kept my legal file.  Whatever.  I could file a complaint, but F her.  I'm out.

Oh, just so that she understood that she is Drama Royalty (and I'm not), she got 2 dudes to tell me, "She is upset that you haven't shown her appreciation for all her hard work."  At that point, I could have just socked her one in the pie hole.  Really.  Just crossed her.  Bunny said he wanted to also.  Can you imagine?  After all that - she wanted ME to THANK HER?!  Go back to Hell.

Bunny (trained to interrogate prisoners, liars, and potential threats)  concluded that she is indeed a bigfatliar and needs psychological help.

So... now I have lawyer #3.  Fucktard former landlord is probably happy about this.  I don't care.  He has no morals (hung out with with Kim Jong Il if that says anything about his character or lack thereof).  I am seeing the case through because I do have morals and what they did to me (and probably to others like me living on their properties) was NOT RIGHT and NOT LEGAL.  If I only get 10 KD, it will be worth it.

This should be a made-for-Ramadan mini-series.  I hope a house falls on her.

30 March 2016 Update:

My new lawyer just called me to tell me that the case has been postponed for 2 months. The judge asked Drama Queen to provide him with (something - we don't know what) after new lawyer told the judge that I had fired Drama.

New lawyer is fantastic.  She immediately asked for police reports and is gathering evidence and has told me what her plan is for the next steps.

The judge may have understood why I fired Drama when, during the last hearing, I looked at Egyptian mandoob appointed by Drama to go to court and said to the judge, "Who is this guy?  I've never seen him before?  My lawyer isn't here.  This guy doesn't know anything about my case?!"  The judge speaks English and has good eye contact and I am always very polite to him and his colleagues.  Maybe he is understanding that I've had problems.

I hope the Drama Queen gets in trouble!

In your FACE, greedy landlords

I hope this goes through....

Proposal soon to determine ‘rents’ according to per square meter
Arab Times
March 22, 2016

KUWAIT CITY, March 21: The real estate sector at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry has formed a committee to review the Leases Act and accordingly amend some of the old provisions to bring them in line with the current situation at a time when rents have risen unchecked without taking into consideration the condition or the geographic location of the building, reports Al-Shahed daily quoting reliable sources.

The sources said a proposal will be submitted soon to determine rents according to per square meter — two dinars per square meter for housing in the Capital Governorate, KD 1.5 in Hawally, KD 1.250 in Farwaniya and 500 fils in Ahmadi and Jahra.

The proposal also states 35 percent will be added to the total rent value (based on square meter) to new buildings that have been built or rebuilt not more than three years ago and 25 percent to residential houses overlooking the seashore or those which are not more than 500 meters far from there, 10 percent of the basic rent shall be added to houses overlooking directly the main streets.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Tinder nightmares Kuwait style...

I've wanted to do this.... trash freaks on online dating sites in Kuwait.  Well, for that matter, there are a lot on LinkedIn too (and that is supposed to be for "Professionals").

Check it out Britishgirl88's review.  This girl is hilarious.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Are dogs allowed in parks in Kuwait?

A reader recently asked me if dogs are allowed in public parks in Kuwait.  I didn't know the official answer, so I gave her the advice I often hand out:  Write to the Arab Times and they will publish the official answer in the paper.

.... and they did.

Dogs in parks

I have a question about dogs. Is there a law in Kuwait that prohibits dogs in parks? In other words, can I walk my dog in a park?
Name withheld

Answer: While there is no law in Kuwait which forbids dog owners from taking their pets to parks, most green public parks do not allow dogs entry. Not only that, dogs are not welcome to these parks by the general public. The rules, however, vary from park to park although “No” is generally the answer. Most dog owners feel not the public but their pets are in greater danger in these parks because a lot of young boys tend to throw stones. So, dog owners most of the time take their dogs to empty beaches (on a long leash) or to the desert where they allow their pets to run free. We would advise the same for you.

That's so true.  I'm much more worried about my dog's safety than him hurting anyone else (he's so gentle).  I carry pepper spray when I walk my dog (because guns are illegal in Kuwait).  I am MUCH more dangerous to rock-throwing ignoramuses than my dog.  I would shoot them in the face without a second thought....

I digress.

Why don't they open dog parks in Kuwait?  Doesn't anyone of the dog-loving-nature have an empty piece of land that they could fence and open a proper dog park.  Sheeeeet - I would pay entry!  Bet a lot of dog owners would too.  (Instead of opening another mini-treat shop or restaurant - dog park!!!) Pet-related products/services is one of the fastest growing industries in Kuwait. Cash in.  Do the community a favor.

Can you see this in Kuwait - with little concession stands along the side and maybe some benches where people could just come and look at the dogs without actually having to touch them?  Maybe set up a kiosk or shop to sell pet products?  Even a truck....

My friend has a huge farm down in Wafra and I took Mikey down there this weekend.  He got to run and jump in their duck pond and he came home so happy.  I drive a sports car.  I can't take Mikey out to the desert (unless I know the terrain well).  Where do you go?   Dogs just gotta be dogs.  I'm so thankful that my friend gave me the chance to let him run around and be happy.  

Dump Trump

It appears that the Nazis are indeed on the campaign trail.  So much for freedom of speech...

(CNN Online today)


He didn't want to file charges the last few times people were getting beaten up in his crowd.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The semi-nude girl on bike

This just in from the Nonsensical News Files....

The semi-nude girl on bike

Photo:  Arab Times Online

KUWAIT CITY, March 9: A blonde semi-nude girl was seen on a motorbike with a young man in Salmiya area. The incident resulted in traffic jam, as a group of young motorists tried to follow them. Acting on information, a team of security operatives went to the location to maintain order, but the motor rider with his partner and their followers managed to escape before their arrival.  According to security sources, there’s no law in the country banning girls from riding motorbikes but there are rules in that regard, which include dress code, in order to protect the riders and other road users. They pointed to a team of traffic men specialized in checking motor riders that violate traffic regulations.

By Mishal Al-Sanousi and Munaif Nayef Al-Seyassah Staff (Source:  Arab Times, 10 March 2016)


DG thoughts:

WHEN did bare arms become semi-nude?  I've seen less clothes on people in restaurants lately.  
Why the H should there be a law in the country banning girls from riding motorbikes???
Rules in that regard?  Oh, you mean like guys who wear shorts and flip flops on motorcycles?
Why do young motorists feel that they should follow them?!  What will they gain?  Why not publish photos of the young motorists following them?
And last but not least, no homo, but nice butt, girlfraynd!  You go, girl!

Monday, March 07, 2016

Female American Contractors in Jail: Monique & Larissa

In case you haven't heard about it, there are 2 American women who were sentenced in Kuwait for possession of 1 gram of hashish.  They were sentenced to 25 years each.  Yes, that's right:  25 years each for 1 gram of hash.

In case you don't know it:  for foreigners in Kuwait, finding 1 gram of hash would, under normal sentencing, lead only to their deportation (for Kuwaitis, a maximum of 4 years and sometimes just a warning if it is a first offence).  However, for whatever the reason, they received a very harsh sentence with very little local media attention.

The women's  mothers informed the US Embassy here; the authorities in Kuwait did not alert the embassy.  US Embassy staff went to visit them.  Once.  To see if they were being treated fairly.  End of their part.  I've said it in previous posts and I will say it again:  It is not the mission of the US Embassy to help American citizens in trouble.  Don't count on them to save you (for whatever the reason).

A reputable local Kuwaiti lawyer who has a record of dealing with a number of humanitarian-based cases and issues has taken the case.  He heard about it through staff members and decided to work on it himself.

Now, I've had a lot of comments about this from friends and others saying, "If you go to a foreign country and don't follow their laws, you get what you deserve."  Fine.  I agree with that.  But in this case,was the law  followed  for sentencing?

These women have been in jail for nine months  to date.  That's nine months of their mothers, families, and friends worried about them being in a foreign prison.  What goes through their minds?  Is the prison system the same as in the US (home country)?  Do they get medical care?  Hygiene?  Do they have good food?  Are they safe?  Are they cold?  Are they afraid?  So far, that is nine months of torture for their two mothers.  I sit here and think what that would do to my own mother.  I can't stand the thought.

And I know what my mother would say to me:  You were stupid.

They were stupid.  I think anyone using drugs illegally anywhere knows the risks involved -  and especially in the Middle East (OSN should air, "Midnight Express" again! And again.  And again.)  Kuwait has been featured on National Geographic's "Banged Up Abroad" (case about a young man, a dependent of a western expat employee in Kuwait who went to a party where there were drugs.  They were all rounded up and he got sent to Central Prison). Lack of judgement, stupidity, law-breaking:  Call it what you will.  However, that is NOT the point here.  The point is the fairness of the sentencing and if proper procedures were followed.

Further, the  point is not the women's sexual orientation, as some have said.  Or the fact that their are African-American.  Or, or or..... The point now is the fairness of the sentencing and what evidence it was based on.

Can the ruling be overturned?  I hope so.  I hope they will be able to go home and lead happy lives.

The lawyer is taking on the case for a reduced fee, but they will still both have legal fees.  They are also looking at having to have therapy once they're out.  All cost money.

As a 20 year expat in Kuwait, I hope that we all stick together here.  Long-time expat residents of Kuwait tend to know each other and over the years, I have seen several times where we've come together to help out someone who needed us.  There are other charities out there for sure.  You can do what you want with your money.  But (to preach a little), we are all living in a country far-away-from-home together.  Sometimes you need to call on others for assistance.  This could be any of us.

Monique and Larissa's  families have established a Gofundme site for donations LINK HERE.  Even if people donate $1, you are still helping.   $1 to your credit card is helping. Don't have a credit card?  Help spread the word by sharing on Facebook and social media.

Good luck, Monique and Larissa.  You have people out here in the community who care.