Tuesday, October 11, 2011

National Guard Health Affairs King Abdul Aziz Medical Hospital

          I found out that other than working at my office on the base, I will also have a desk at National Guard Health Affairs King Abdul Aziz Medical Hospital.
My customer is the National Guard Health Affairs (NGHA) Contracting department. My position is called a Supply Systems Analyst which acts as a Contracting Officer's Representative (COR) for the U.S. Army. I am the liaison between my department which is OPM Health Affairs and NGHA Contracting.

          The hospital is about a 20 minute drive from the base. Of course, when I go there to work, I must wear my abaya and have to get a driver to take me there. NGHA has an office for me and prefer that I am there 2 to 3 times a week to work with them. They depend on the Army for advisory services to make sure they are in compliance with Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) regarding their purchases and contracts. I am responsible for analyzing and advising NGHA on their procurement actions (i.e. prospective contract awards) before they are actually awarded by Army Contracting.

          Today was my second visit to the hospital, this time on my own.  My sponsor took me on my first visit to introduce me to all of the people I will be working with. It was a culture shock for me. All of the men in the Contracting department wore white thawbs. This is an ankle length piece of clothing which is long and fits loosely and normally made of cotton. They also wear a ghutra (a square head cloth, red and white checkered) and aqal (a double circle of black rope or cord to hold the ghutra) on their head.  The women were wearing their black abayas (a long black cloak), jilbab (a black cloth covering the head) and a boshiya (a black veil worn across the lower part of the face) You can't see anything on the some of the women except their eyes!  I really tried hard not to stare.

          At first, I felt like an outsider but my sponsor ensured everyone, as he introduced me, that I came well equipped with the qualifications to do a very good job for them.  With their approving eyes and warm smiles all focused on me, they instantly made me feel at home and like a part of their team. 

           The National Guard Health Affairs King Abdul Aziz Medical Hospital commenced its operation in May 1983. In year 2001, it became part of King Abdulaziz Medical cities. Many physicians, nurses and paramedics are recruited from North America, Western Europe, Australia and South Africa.   
           This week, 86 year old Saudi Arabia ruler, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, underwent successful back surgery at the hospital where I work. It was surreal to be in the same place as Saudi Arabia’s King!

All the best,

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