By Nadia El-Ahmar.
Tripoli, 21 December 2013:
The sixth International Women in Libya (IWiL) monthly event was held on Saturday 7 December at . . .[restrict]the Radisson Blu Al Mahary hotel in Tripoli, attracting nearly seventy Libyan and expatriate women from various countries.
This month’s event included a special cultural feature which saw volunteers dressed up in seven different traditional Libyan special occasion outfits including the Jilwa, Badla Al Kabira, Badla Al Sagira and Al-Abrouk., alongside mannequins dressed in traditional outfits from Benghazi.
Adding to the event in the hotel’s 15th floor business lounge overlooking the sea, were the traditional Libyan ornaments displayed on tables, and the delicious spread of snacks and refreshments generously provided by the Radisson Blu hotel.
Life in Libya as a woman came up in conversations as not being easy, along with worries about the effect recent events will have on Libya’s future. The education system in Libya was another hot topic. Claudia, a British English teacher, has only been in Libya for three months but says she has already learnt so much. “I’ll be going home for Christmas, but I want to take the opportunity to travel around Libya.”
Looking ahead, many took advantage of the opportunity to join in some of IWiL’s other activities – including medina tours, the book club, exercise classes and ‘Meet & Eat’.
IWiL’s first ‘Meet and Eat’ event was on Saturday 15 December, when nearly 50 Libyan and expatriate women, all met up to enjoy an Indian buffet lunch at the beautiful Al Safir Indian restaurant in Tripoli’s Baladia Street.
The very tasty buffet included eleven delicious dishes, including chicken tikka masala, rice, soup, falafel and kebabs. Asma told the Libya Herald, “the main reason I came was because I haven’t tried this restaurant before and I wanted to see what the food is like. I really enjoyed it, especially the chicken and rice”.
The friendly and relaxing atmosphere encouraged different topics of conversation. Discussions especially among Libyan women were about the electricity blackouts “It is disrupting our lives, especially when it is out for five hours” one woman said. The petrol shortages were another hot topic. “How are we going to take part in the local elections if we don’t have petrol?” Asma said.
One Libyan woman said that considering the petrol problems, the buffet lunch was an afternoon she was glad she didn’t miss, “It was well worth the petrol”. Keen to stay in touch and try new dishes, many signed up for the chance to ‘Meet & Eat’ again next month.
IWiL is a local network of over 350 expatriate and Libyan women members, who meet to exchange ideas and socialise with other internationally-minded female professionals who live and work in Libya. The IWiL network was founded by Yolanda Zaptia, a director of Know Libya consultancy, and Adela Suliman from international law firm Clyde and Co.
To join, contact [email protected]