Thursday, October 6: This morning, the teachers at University of Nizwa meet for a swap market.  The stated purpose is to supply new teachers with useful things for their homes here in Nizwa, to allow current teachers to recycle the items they don’t want or need anymore, to have some fun together, and to raise funds for the charity Oman Cat-Astrophe, which humanely traps, spays and neuters the stray cats and dogs in Oman.

Ray & Ylena's villa ~ hosts to the swap market in birkat al mouz

Ray & Ylena’s villa ~ hosts to the swap market in birkat al mouz

Ray, one of the Foundation Institute’s level coordinators, and his wife Ylena open their lovely villa for the event, and the long-time teachers bring their household goods: pillows, bedding, coffee makers, salad spinners, travel irons, lamps, jewelry boxes, even tableware and glasses… you name it.  One teacher has potted some small basil plants so new teachers can start their own herb gardens.  Each seller marks her space with blankets or awnings, offering such enticements as clothing, DVDs, books, scarves, and even a Wii video game console. Teachers come in groups of fellow teachers, or with their spouses and children, or alone to browse and socialize.

business at the swap market

business at the swap market

Two young boys discover a bulletin board with posters of cats and dogs up for adoption; the pictures are accompanied by adorable little “first-animal” narratives from the pets themselves. Before we know it, the boys have talked their parents into calling the number on the poster and are headed to Muscat to pick up a new family dog!

two little boys find a new dog on the bulletin board... :-)

two little boys find a new dog on the bulletin board… 🙂

New teachers load up on household goods for their bare bones flats and happily take off to make their places more cozy.  Some teachers sink into the plush couches and eat fluffy forkfuls of lemon cake while socializing with other teachers.

Ray's garden.....

Ray’s garden…..

Yours truly takes a bunch of pictures, chats with colleagues, munches on lemon cake, and comes away with a couple of books.  I also get a tour of Ray’s lovely courtyard garden, bursting with Bougainvillea and succulents.

I don’t know how much money is raised for the good cause, or how much money the teachers make, but I do know that the event is a lovely start to the weekend.  Everyone comes away with either a little more or a little less, making most people at least a little happier.  And at least one little dog has a new home as of today… 🙂

Marcia and her goods in Ray's majlis (room for entertaining guests)

Marcia and her goods in Ray’s majlis (room for entertaining guests)