Ecuado­rian com­mu­nity marks New Year

Gulf Times Community - - SHOWBIZ - By Mu­das­sir Raja

INearly 70 Ecuado­rian fam­i­lies among other diplo­mats and their fam­i­lies gath­ered to cel­e­brate New Years’ at St Regis Doha. t was a fam­ily gala at St. Regis Doha where Ivonne A Baki, Am­bas­sador of Ecuador, re­cently ar­ranged a New Years’ party for the small Ecuado­rian com­mu­nity in Qatar. She had also in­vited the am­bas­sadors of other coun­tries with their fam­i­lies to the gath­er­ing.

It was a fun and so­cial­is­ing evening where peo­ple of dif­fer­ent back­grounds con­verged and had a chance to share their ex­pe­ri­ences of life and work in Qatar.

The un­der­ly­ing aim of the gath­er­ing was pri­mar­ily to unite the small Ecuado­rian com­mu­nity in Qatar at one place. The event was at­tended by nearly 70 Ecuado­rian fam­i­lies re­sid­ing in Qatar. The am­bas­sadors of UK, Canada, and Bel­gium were also present with their fam­i­lies on the oc­ca­sion and cel­e­brated with the gath­er­ing in a leisurely fash­ion. The or­gan­is­ers served guests a splen­did din­ner of Ecuado­rian food. There were some spe­cial ac­tiv­i­ties for chil­dren.

Speak­ing on the oc­ca­sion, the am­bas­sador ex­pressed her grat­i­tude to the guests and as­sured that such gath­er­ings should be done more fre­quently dur­ing her stay in Qatar. She en­cour­aged her com­mu­nity to be in con­stant in­ter­ac­tion with each other and to regis­ter them­selves at the em­bassy to en­joy the con­sular ser­vices.

Talk­ing to Com­mu­nity, the am­bas­sador said: “The idea of the gath­er­ing is to start the year 2019 with a cel­e­bra­tion for Ecuado­rian com­mu­nity here. There are not many in num­ber but they are won­der­ful peo­ple. It was a good idea to in­vite ev­ery one of them and also some of the am­bas­sadors to cel­e­brate. We have to cel­e­brate ev­ery day. We have to cel­e­brate when we wake up in the morn­ing that we are alive. The idea is to do it with fam­i­lies and chil­dren. For me if chil­dren are smil­ing and happy, ev­ery­thing is okay.”

When asked about her new year res­o­lu­tions, she said: “Mostly to be hap­pier. I think it is im­por­tant to live the mo­ment. I re­alise that we can­not do it with­out the fam­i­lies around. I am happy that a lot of fam­i­lies came with chil­dren. My res­o­lu­tion is to live with my fam­ily. I al­ways give them time and of course, it is qual­ity time. For the po­lit­i­cal part, I al­ways pur­sue peace. Still my dream is to have peace in the Mid­dle East some­time.”

Re­gard­ing re­la­tions with Qatar, she said: “The bi­lat­eral re­la­tions are very good. Our pres­i­dent re­cently came to Qatar for Doha Fo­rum. His High­ness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Ha­mad al-Thani also vis­ited Ecuador a few months ago. Both coun­tries are more of friends to­gether. There is ever in­creas­ing trust be­tween the two coun­tries. That helps a lot to open up to have the con­nec­tions, not only the com­mer­cial but also the hu­man con­nec­tion.”

Ste­fanie McCol­lum, Am­bas­sador of Canada to Qatar, said: “I am very hon­oured to be present here with such a nice com­mu­nity. The am­bas­sador of Ecuador told me that it was a fairly new com­mu­nity that has been grow­ing for the last few years. You can see very nice syn­ergy. Peo­ple feel very much at home. The am­bas­sador has a way of mak­ing ev­ery­body feel wel­comed. Ev­ery­one feels in­cluded. I think it is fan­tas­tic that ev­ery­one can get to­gether and cel­e­brate the New Year this way.”

When asked as an in­di­vid­ual what new res­o­lu­tions she had, the am­bas­sador said, “[Laugh­ing] per­son­ally I do not have any. I stopped do­ing them long ago be­cause I was dis­ap­pointed with my­self for never re­spect­ing them. But, I am look­ing for­ward to a very ex­cit­ing year here. Doha is an amaz­ing place. As a mother I am happy. There are many good schools. There are good cul­tural and sports ac­tiv­i­ties. There is al­ways some­thing to do. It is a very mul­ti­cul­tural home for so many peo­ple. It feels nice.”

Bart De Groof, Am­bas­sador of Bel­gium, said: “It is re­ally a fam­ily gath­er­ing. It feels that the Ecuado­rian com­mu­nity is one big fam­ily here. I think their am­bas­sador has brought the com­mu­nity into a tight knit. She is a very fa­mous per­son here in Doha. I am ex­cited and happy to be here. I am in Qatar with my fam­ily. We have al­ways felt at ease here. I think it is a very easy coun­try to live in. It is an in­ter­na­tional coun­try. The Qataris are very friendly.”

About his New Year res­o­lu­tions, he said: “They say the best res­o­lu­tion is not to have the res­o­lu­tions be­cause at least you will not be dis­ap­pointed. But as al­ways, we will try to live healthily.” Am­bas­sador of Ecuador Ivonne A Baki, right, seen with the Am­bas­sador of Canada Ste­fanie McCol­lum.

GROUP: Pho­tos by Jayan Orma

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