Hovercraft in Egaila

Posted by Mark

A reader of mine captured the video awhile ago in Egaila. According to my reader the coast guards where testing out the hovercraft which is around 2-3 years old but hasn’t really gotten much use. It’s currently being surveyed so they could start using it on a regular basis. If anyone can hook me up with a ride let me know! [YouTube]


Thanks Fahad Al Hindi

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248AM Classifieds

Posted by Mark

I just want to bring to focus the blogs classifieds section just in case you didn’t know about it. It’s free to use and there’s hundreds of items for sale so check it out [Link]

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Boy Scouts Of America – Troop 965

Posted by Mark


A reader emailed me about a Boy Scouts of America open day thats taking place end of this month along with some photos. I had no idea the Boy Scouts of America had a local chapter and based on the photos I was sent it actually looks like it’s pretty legit. I was a boy scout when I was younger back in Lebanon and I loved it since we spent so much time outdoors. Check out some photos below and for more information on their upcoming event click [Here]

Read the rest of this entry »

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Join the Ahmadi Music Group

Posted by Mark


The Ahmadi Music Group is Kuwait’s oldest and largest performing arts organization. Their concerts include orchestra, choir, rock band, ballet, hip-hop and everything else. They’re currently looking for new members to join, no auditions necessary and everyone is welcome regardless of experience.

So if you’re interested in joining them you can pass by their first rehearsal next Sunday (13 September) between 7-9PM at the New English School (NES) in Jabriyah. There will be free donuts.

For info, call Richard Bushman 97288859 or info@ahmadimusicgroup.com

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MAS Arena

Posted by Mark


For the past year on my way to The Avenues I’ve been passing this large rust colored warehouse located on the main road. I didn’t know what the building housed, I knew it had something to do with sports because of the large neons covering the building but I couldn’t tell what was inside since the building looked like it was still under construction. Then last week I found out the place was an indoor football arena and that they had actually been open for a few months now but still look like they’re under construction because of the empty shops facing the main road. So I passed by to check it out.


The large building houses three indoor football fields and has air conditioning which means no matter how hot or cold it is outside, you could play football anytime of the year. MAS also have showers and locker rooms in case you want to change before heading out which is something I haven’t seen at other football fields. Price wise they’re much more expensive than the outdoor fields, an hour of indoor football is going to cost you KD45. If you’re interested you can book a field by calling 66148079 or 22230096. They’re open from 9AM to 10PM and here is their location on [Google Maps

Update: The official opening is next month

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Kuwait based designer dresses Britney Spears, Nicki Minaj and Khloé Kardashian at the VMAs’

Posted by Mark


For Sunday night’s MTV Video Music Awards, Britney Spears donned an attention-grabbing, mostly sheer minidress. Not to be outdone was Nicki Minaj, who flaunted an equally eye-popping gown that landed the star on many a best-dressed list.

No, these gold body-hugging looks weren’t by red-carpet faves Atelier Versace or Givenchy. They were by a nearly unknown brand called LaBourjoisie, leaving fans asking: Who is that?

LaBourjoisie turns out is a local based brand run by 35 year old Lebanese designer Antoine Salameh. His shop in Shaab is dressing A-list celebrities located on the other side of the world. Just writing that sounded so weird, it’s insane. [Link]

Thanks James

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From Ghana to Kuwait, One Man’s Story

Posted by Mark


Last week a reader called Abdulai Shani left the following comment under the post “The rescue of a domestic worker in Kuwait”:

I’m happy I came across this page. To be frank I’m fascinated as to how most Kuwaitis respond positively.

This is my own story and how I got to Kuwait. It all started somewhere in February this year, I met a guy back in my country in Africa, that is Ghana to be specific who told me he have some “connection” as normally termed in Ghana here in Kuwait and that a reputable company needs security guards to employ. I showed interest because he said I will be paid $1000 per month. I was happy and more than willing, so he demanded I pay $1500 for the processing my my visa and tickets which I paid. When I arrived at the airport of Kuwait on the 1st of April it was a different scenario. I was taken to an agency in Jahra and was told I’m going to take care of sheep on the desert. That was a blow I haven’t recovered till now, because I’m trapped in the sense that I quitted my job which is 100 times better than what I’m doing right here in Kuwait. And the wages i was promised never manifested instead I receive 70kd a month. I can’t even call my mom to tell her what I’m going through because I fear I might break her heart. I Fasted 30 Days during the fasting and can tell you it was hell. I Iive in a tent and the weather is extremely hot. I Have been on the desert for five months now. It’s I’m not the only one over here, we are trapped. We work 24hours a day and no day off and this will continue for 2years. We don’t go any where ,we just work even at night because we have to stay awake and look after the sheep. I’m a muslim and what I have been taught is that a man should not be ashamed of his work if it brings you good deeds and avoid you from stealing, so I’m not ashamed of being a shepherd although I’m well educated but the thing is my freedom have shackled. And the funny thing is our employers call themselves Muslims but will not allow us to go to the mosque on Fridays. All they do is they want us to always work,t hey don’t care even if we don’t pray. Hmmm on the day of Judgement Allah will fight for what they are denying us. Maybe someone reading this will say why we don’t run away or protect, but I tell you if we try to run away they will file a false case against us. And another problem is abuse, they beat my co workers although non have tried that on me yet. We just hope one day our two years contracts will be over. So that we can go back peacefully to our various countries.

After reading that I had no idea what to think. It didn’t make sense, the person who left that comment speaks English fairly well, was able to find my blog and was also able to leave a comment. How is this guy a shepherd? At first I thought it might be a prank but I emailed the guy anyway asking for his number so I could contact him and confirm his story. He sent me his number and I proceeded to chat with him via Whatsapp. Again I was very suspicious, how does a shepherd know what Whatsapp is? In the end he sent me his location and I decided I would drive out to meet him. Friday, after brunch with some friends, I drove an hour and a half alone into the middle of the desert so I could meet a stranger called Abdulai. I honestly had no idea what to expect which is why I had passed the location to my friends… just in case.

It was around 1PM when I pulled up outside Abdulai’s tent. I had called him up minutes earlier trying to figure out where his tent was exactly and the first thing he asked me was if I had driven through the valley of dead sheep. I surprisingly knew what he was talking about since just before I called him I had driven on a strip of road with dead sheep on both sides. A horrific scene mind you. As I was getting out of my car Abdulai had a big smile on his face, I walked up to him and we shook hands before we headed inside his tent. Abdulai lives on a farm, no, I can’t call it a farm since it’s really not but not sure what else to call it. It’s just a 4×4 tent (his home) with a small sheep pen outside it and that’s about it. It was very hot and although I was sitting inside his tent in the shade I was sweating profusely. He doesn’t have electricity so there is no air conditioning. Before we started I asked him if I could post his full name and his photo and he said yes. I told him I didn’t want to get him in trouble and if he wanted to stay anonymous or not be in a photo that would be ok. He told me he didn’t care since this was his reality.


Abdulai Shani is a high school graduate but dropped out of university. He’s just 25 years old and before coming to Kuwait was teaching 7 year olds English and Mathematics at a school in Ghana. Like he stated in his comment on the blog, he was offered the opportunity to work in Kuwait as a security guard with a starting salary of $1,000 which was more than what he was making teaching in Ghana. So he took the chance, paid the agent $1,500 in fees and flew out of Ghana on March 31st of this year to come work in Kuwait. He didn’t have a copy of the contract before he left since his agent told him he would get one on arrival to Kuwait. When he arrived in Kuwait he was greeted by a man who he assumed was his boss. That man took his passport then drove him to a house in Jahra where he was locked up with three other people. He was told his sponsor would be coming to get him in a couple of days and was then asked if he was informed on what he would be doing. He replied saying he did, he would be a security guard. The person told him no, he was going to be a shepherd. Abdulai responded saying he was told he would be a security guard by the agent. The man then asked him if he knew how much he would be getting paid. Abdulai told him $1,000, the man told him he would be getting only KD70. Abdulai didn’t understand and at that time he had just arrived to Kuwait and so he was scared and didn’t know what to do. Three days later his sponsor came in the evening. His sponsor paid the people holding Abdulai and he was released into his custody. He felt like he was a slave being traded.


Since April Abdulai has been working at this sheep pen out in the middle of nowhere. His meals are bread for breakfast, rice for lunch and rice for dinner. He doesn’t have electricity except for a small solar panel that charges his phone and his flashlight. The sponsor gave him a smartphone with a phone line that has internet which is how he is able to get online. He found my blog while researching slavery in Kuwait trying to understand what rights he had and why things are the way they are. According to Abdulai he is getting paid although he ran into an issue recently. His first two salaries he had the sponsor send to Ghana since it wasn’t safe to keep his money in his tent. Then the other 3 salaries he told the sponsor to keep with him. But when he asked for them at the end of last month the sponsor wouldn’t give it to him. After an argument he was told to give back the mobile phone. Abdulai gave him the phone but told him part of the contract says I get a phone so if you’re taking it back then I want to go back to Ghana. So they took him to the agency who gave him two choices.

1) He leaves to Ghana but doesn’t get paid.
2) He stays and he would get paid. He chose to stay.

At this point I wanted to know what he wanted out of all of this so I asked him. He replied telling me he just wanted to get the word out that slavery still exists. He told me back in Ghana he didn’t live in a tent, he lived in a home, a decent one. He told me two months back when the weather was really hot he started to bleed from his nose. So he told his sponsor he wanted to go to the hospital to check and see why he was bleeding. His sponsor told him he wasn’t going to take him to the hospital but instead should just wrap his head with a shemagh. I asked Abdulai if he wanted to go back to Ghana or if he wanted to stay and get a better job. He told me he wanted to stay but get a better job since that’s why he originally came to Kuwait.

On my way back to the car he gave me a tour of the property. Right outside his tent door was a bench, that’s where he sleeps at night since it’s too hot to sleep inside the tent. He then showed me the sheep pen which he attends to all day long, seven days a week. He doesn’t understand what the sheep are for, in the five months he’s been there none were sold or taken or anything. We walked together back to my car and said our goodbyes.


In some ways Abdulai is lucky. He’s educated and speaks English which is how he was able to reach out to me and now I can shed light on him and hopefully with the help of the blog find him a better job. But this also got me thinking, what about all the other people who don’t speak any English and don’t know how to reach out for help? And what if this was the tipping point for change? With local telecoms phasing out regular phones and pushing out smartphones with internet access to all their customers, are more and more people like Abdulai going to come forward and share their story with the world?

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Iftah Ya Simsim is Coming Back

Posted by Mark


The popular kids show Iftah Ya Simsim which first aired back in 1979 is coming back on air for the first time since it stopped 25 years ago. But, the show that was originally produced and filmed in Kuwait is now instead being filmed in Abu Dhabi. We lost Iftah Ya Simsim to Abu Dhabi and that sucks. First episode is expected to air on Kuwait TV tomorrow (Friday, September 4th) at 5PM. [Link]

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An Art Gallery for Domestic Workers in Kuwait

Posted by Mark


I got the message below from a friend of mine and thought it was an interesting project. If you’ve got a house helper have them take part:

Dear All, I hope this message finds you well. I am contacting you on behalf of one of my projects: Project 52-Pixels An art Gallery for Domestic Workers in Kuwait. We are trying to have people who believe in the rights of their domestic workers to be an example to other locals in Kuwait, if you believe in their rights as a human being and give them a day off, we want to shed light on you so others could get influenced and follow. (Abuse is too common amongst domestic workers in Kuwait, a high percentage of them suffer from a form of abuse in one way or another, ranging from sexual abuse, physical, food deprivation, no pay- modern day slavery, suicide, and more. All gone with no reports and no punishment to the employer)

This is a short project and won’t take time from you and we would only need a few hours from your house helper to do the following:

1) On Saturday, September 12th we only need 4 hours from your house helpers time, (from 10am-2pm) for the domestic worker to attend the photography workshop given by professional photographers taking place at Masaha 13. They will learn how to professionally take photographs in an intense course and then each of them will be given their own cameras to take and keep.

2) Anytime after the workshop (whenever they are given their day off) they need to take the camera with them and take photos of whatever they desire, anything that speaks to them, the city, the streets, church, the friends they meet whatever it may be. (No photos of the house or the family employing the worker should be taken)

3) We will come and collect the film from you once they have taken their photos and produce them and blow them up into big photos.

4) Around October 20th (date not confirmed yet) we will host a public Art Gallery exhibiting all the domestic workers photography at Masaha 13, where you and your domestic worker are both invited to be congratulated and acknowledged in hopes of having any of the attendees and public who have forgotten that their domestic workers have a life outside of their uniform and Job are just like you and I.

We hope you believe in their rights and believe in change and could participate to be a leader who leads by example.

If you’re interested in having your house helper take part you can contact them on 97841212 or send an email to lama@project-189.org

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Instagram Ads Launching in the Region Soon

Posted by Mark


As some of you might have heard, Instagram advertising soft launched awhile back in the States, but what you might not be aware of is that it will also be soft launching in our region very soon. Advertisers will soon be able to place ads within your photo stream which will most likely have a big impact on Instagrammers who currently charge for posts.

Not only will advertisers no longer need to pay Instagrammers, but by placing ads directly with Instagram they can accurately target their customer base. Right now there is no way for example to tell where the followers of a certain Instagrammer are residing, that will all change with Instagram advertising since advertisers would be able to specify who they want their ads to be seen by.

The official word from Instagram MENA is that they will be beta launching the program shortly with a limited group of advertisers. They wouldn’t give me a specific launch date since it still hasn’t been finalized, but from what I’ve been hearing in the grapevine, its expected to launch within the next couple of months. The partners for this launch have already been set and I know one of them but I sadly can’t share who they are because I was told off the record.

Instagram advertisers will have two buying mechanisms once this program launches:

Self-serve: This will work similar to how Facebook Ads work and, similarly, will be priced by an auction.

Insertion Order: Managed clients will also be able to book these which are sold on a fixed price, but rates aren’t yet established for the region.

The targeting aspect of these ads will function similarly to how Facebook targeting currently works.

As I mentioned, Instagram will be soft launching soon with a limited group of advertising partners. This means for now Instagrammers will not be losing a lot of income. But once this program launches officially and to everyone, they’ll most likely feel the pinch.

Update: I just opened Instagram and noticed the ad below so I’m guessing the soft launch might take place this month.


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If you have anything you think would be interesting to share on this blog
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