Sunday, April 13, 2014

Risk Management

Well, this is not a blog post about clouds...  I love living in Oman.  But no place is perfect.  I see and hear about lots of strange things (well, strange to me) that I choose not to blog about, but I couldn't not blog about this.

I was sitting by a window, talking to my good friend Jennifer, in Texas.  I saw this vehicle drive by, with two children on top of the car!! I don't believe Oman has any seat belt laws for children.  It is common to see Omani drivers with small children in their laps!  And small children sitting in the front passenger seat.  I have also seen children hanging out of the car windows, quite a number of times.  But I have never seen a child sitting ON TOP of a vehicle!!  This boy, who looked to be around ten or eleven, was sitting cross-legged on top of the car, holding on to the luggage racks.  The car went up and down the street, which has a lot of speed bumps.  I got a good look at the driver, expecting to see a young driver.  But no, the driver was a mature-looking woman, presumably the mother.  She drove up and down the street, then at some point, got over the curb and started driving in the sand!  I could see how bumpy the ride was!!  

These pictures are poor quality, I know.  I took them while I was talking, so I didn't take time to focus.  I just wanted to get the shot.

She must have intended to drive on the beach, but changed her mind and backed up.  

And drove alongside the road, in the sand.  You can see the head of a younger child coming out of the sunroof.

I think it is safe to say that you would not see this kind of driving in the US.  Ten people would have called the police and the driver would have been in serious legal trouble, if not arrested, for  'child endangerment'.  Yet here in Oman, it seems to be okay.

The main reason I am blogging about this is to show the difference in how cultures think about risk.  In America, we do everything we can to avoid risk.  To the point of banning lots of activities that might put our children in potential risk.  We want to control our environments and lives to totally eliminate the chance of danger.  As you can see, not all cultures feel that way.  

So, what is the right way to live?  Avoiding all sorts of things that might possibly cause harm, or to know that most things are out of our control and take any risk?  I think the answer lies somewhere in the middle.


  1. I live in saudi arabia and always cringe everytime I see a parent holding their child in their lap while they are driving, or has the mother carrying her baby in her lap, I think it is so dangerous and stupid of them to do that. I have heard that some Gulf countries are taking steps to ban that, but so far not Saudi arabia.
    at least as far as I know. people are pulled over for not wearing a seatbelt, but not for carrying their children in the front on their laps, that's perfectly fine.

  2. I think no matter where I lived, as a mom I would have been worried. Heck I still am and they are 19 and 22....sigh