The holidays are always a great time to bond with friends and family. So, the YES alumni in Bahrain decided to use the Christmas season as an opportunity to connect with one another. On Christmas Eve, 24 YES alumni and Amideast/Bahrain consultant Masooma Kadhem met at a pool house in Manama for a Christmas barbecue party.
Throughout December, Manal Kamal, Mohamed Ali, Noor Ebrahim, Rabab Mohsen, Sondos Ebrahim, and Rusol Allawi prepared for the gathering. Each of the alumni had a different role: Mohamed booked the barbecue catering, Rabab baked Christmas-themed cupcakes, Sondos prepared candy goodie bags, and Rusol organized a “Secret Santa” gift exchange. Finally, Manal communicated the COVID-19 health precautions to the YES alumni. Thanks to the YES alumni's efforts, the event was full of Christmas cheer!
To start the event, the attendees took rapid tests as a precaution against COVID-19 — all their results came back negative. Afterwards, the YES alumni enjoyed a delicious barbecue meal including burgers and “tikka,” Bahraini-styled skewered meat. After the meal, the YES alumni had their “Secret Santa” gift exchange. The event concluded after the YES alumni played several rounds of various board games. Sondos Ebrahim shares, "It was a memorable night that gathered alumni from different years to enjoy the Christmas season. Getting to know older alumni as well as younger peers was great. What made the whole night more memorable was when each of the attendees shared their YES experiences.”
This Christmas party was the first in-person YES alumni event in Bahrain since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. For the YES ’20 cohort, this gathering provided a unique sense of belonging and engagement as their YES experiences were cut short due to COVID-19. Mohamed Ali reflects, “We enjoyed our time together, barbecuing, making s’mores, and sipping hot chocolate. Having the opportunity to meet other alumni to talk about our YES experiences was great. It really felt like Christmas. I can’t wait for more activities."
With 2022 in motion, the YES alumni have their eyes fixed on the year ahead to think of new ways of creating memories. To begin preparing, the YES alumni created a WhatsApp group to organize community service activities. Noor Ebrahim remarks, "Where there's a WhatsApp group, there's a way to make things happen." The YES Alumni Network in Bahrain is off to a good start!
Rusol Allawi (YES 2013–2014, Bahrain, placed by AFS in Geneva, IL)
Mohamed Ali (YES 2016–2017, Bahrain, placed by CIEE in Midlothian, TX)
Rabab Mohsen (YES 2016–2017, Bahrain, placed by PAX in Springville, IN)
Noor Ebrahim (YES 2017–2018, Bahrain, placed by AYUSA in Bonney Lake, WA)
Sondos Ebrahim (YES 2018–2019, Bahrain, placed by CIEE in Montrose, CO)
Manal Kamal (YES 2018–2019, Bahrain, placed by PAX in Olympia, WA)