Saudi Aramco News

DHAHRAN, 03/27/2014 — Do you know where to find the only house to be built in Dhahran with a chimney? Or in which residential garden the first grass was grown? Or maybe you would like to find out which public building has a secret door into its roof or the location of the first dedicated training center for Saudi women. It may sound like Saudi Aramco trivia, but the answers to all these questions can be found on Dhahran’s Community Heritage Gallery’s History Walking Tour, a recent addition to the CHG tour schedule. Designed to take participants through the heart of the early residential camp of Dhahran of the 1940s and 1950s, the tour includes stops outside historic buildings and sites to interpret their contribution to the development of our community. Along the way, anecdotal stories are shared which have passed into Saudi Aramco folklore. The research and design of the tour was largely completed by docent Alison Hooker with some help from Stevie Furman, retired resident of that era, who was able to help with detailed information about some of the locations of the era. Response to the tour has been very positive, with the second and third tours being over-subscribed. Participants have included Saudi Aramco “brats,” long-term residents and newcomers to the community. This mix has enabled lively discussions along the walk route about the tour information, sparking questions and memories that have contributed further to knowledge of Saudi Aramco traditions and lore. Indeed, sidewalk conversations have ranged from the challenges of Abu Hadriya Well No. 1 to strawberries in the Commissary. As one participant observed, ”There are wonderful stories that highlight the human side of such a huge organization and also show how one can make a difference by showing initiative in a variety of areas also outside the job.” In designing the tour content, Hooker hoped the tour would help participants gain a deeper understanding of the richness of the community in which they live, promoting a sense of continuity and belonging. Feedback from participants has certainly indicated that she achieved that goal. Saudi Aramco employee Miriam Morrissey commented that the tour gave her “a real sense of what life was like here in the community.” She added that from listening to the facts and stories, she gained a new found appreciation of the company and what it is to be a part of Saudi Aramco, all this despite having already lived and worked here for over 12 years so far. The Heritage Gallery now offers a number of new services including hosting business meetings on request in its traditional majlis. Tours can be tailored to suit the needs of your group. Contact [email protected] for more information.