When I first heard about these “coffee mornings” the thought of having to dress up and meet other women and sit around while having coffee while pretending to be interested in other people’s conversations didn’t quite appeal to me. Until I met some of my neighbours.
“Where did you buy this?”
“At a coffee morning.”
Oh? So its not just a bunch of women sitting around having coffee then?
Coffee mornings are basically organized Bazaars, organized normally by a compound, sometimes by an expat organization. The primary aim is to allow various expat women to meet each other while doing what else – shopping.
It is also a way for the expat women for sell some of their wares. Either items they have bought at a fraction of the price from back home and sold for a handsome profit, or handicrafts which they have made with the extra time they now have not working and all sorts of other local items sold by the local sellers at a much higher price than the souqs (or markets) to the unknown expats. Not everyone like going to the souqs so having the vendors come and sell the carpets, table clothes etc at their doorstep could be rather convenient.
But most of the time, the women were buying things off each other. I bought a table cloth, a handmade box, a greenish blanket, chocolate Easter eggs, all things that I didn’t really need, but bought as a goodwill gesture to a fellow neighbour.
Are coffee mornings basically a way for women here to buy friendships?
Are friendships easily bought by small bribes?
After a while I stopped going to the coffee mornings. I always end up spending too much, often on items I don’t really need, and the company after awhile dithers a little. The circle is getting smaller and smaller because they are less and less women in the kingdom. I was told that the coffee morning economy used to be fuelled by just the sheer number of American women in the country. But most women don’t come here anymore. Just their husbands alone, flying back once every two to three months for conjugal visits. I was told one compound had no women in them, just men, whose wives are all back home.
With the summer just coming round the corner, we would have the last wave of the coffee mornings for the next month or so. Before everyone goes away for the summer to escape the heat.