Watani, I’m forever grateful

26-12-2011 11:54 AM

Lydia Farid


On Watani International’s 10th anniversary, I was asked to write about my experience with Watani. Simply, they were seven wonderful years! So many precious memories!
Seven years ago I was still in the last year of secondary school when my eldest sister

On Watani International’s 10th anniversary, I was asked to write about my experience with Watani. Simply, they were seven wonderful years! So many precious memories!
Seven years ago I was still in the last year of secondary school when my eldest sister, who was already a member of Watani International, suggested I might get training there. She introduced me to the managing editor Samia Sidhom who, even though she said she did not normally train persons that young, warmly welcomed me. 
I started translating on draft paper small pieces of news. The papers would be returned to me splashed with corrections in red ink, yet accompanied by the most encouraging words. 
It was a great pleasure when a number of my friends from university went to Watani for training, and Ms Sidhom, told them that their colleague Lydia already worked with her. She said I was lovely and explained that the main key to my success was that I used to sit silently and keenly observe the work. This was the first thing my friends told me when we met. I instantly felt like an excited student who got an “A” and a big star from a beloved teacher.
I was and still am the youngest member of the Watani International team. However, I am made to feel as important as the oldest and most experienced of the team. Patience, listening, and learning by acquiring were my keys to success; especially since patience is a common trait that I share with my editor.
I was given an opportunity to work in Watani even though I was not yet qualified for the job, so I consider it a gift from heaven. It is a calm workplace despite all the noise—it actually feels like a mad circus just before going to press. It is among the most competent papers, although it runs on limited resources, and an objective paper although it is [falsely] accused of belonging to the Church. 
The first paycheck I got from Watani after eight months of training was EGP50, a little sum but for me a huge capital I could have used to open my new business. 
Since Watani is a weekly paper, the team seldom gets together on one day; the times are staggered to suit the work and the members of the team. But if Ms Sidhom is absent for a few days, we all gather to put in our best effort. Since she taught us to be efficient and accurate, we need to prove she can rely on us when she is absent. 
Watani International has been my constant companion during the important stages of my life: graduation from school then university, working experience and, recently, my engagement. It has deepened and widened my vision, enriched my thought, added values to me, enhanced my life experience as a whole.
Watani, I am forever grateful! 
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