I have had an attachment to the stories of the “old days” since childhood. Although I lived away from my hometown, my family were very connected with Madinah traditions and made sure to transfer its culture to our daily life. For this reason, I always felt different from my friends at the KFUPM schools in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, as its culture was different from the western region.
We are a family of seven; I am the youngest girl and the most spoiled by my dad. (He used to pack my dress whenever he traveled, to smell it whenever he missed me; a habit that he has continued to this day).
One of my family’s favorite games is called “Memory.” My father used to demonstrate some pictures of Madinah old town, and then ask us about the name of the places. I have pictured Madinah mosques, buildings and valleys in my mind since childhood. Although the purpose was to win the game, when I grew up it became a task to preserve the heritage of the city and its culture.
The pride of my dad and mom being from the Prophet’s land has made me always feel responsible for my behavior. My passion for heritage is a reflection of the authenticity and originality of my family.
Dad was my biggest source of inspiration. He believed that education is key to society’s development.
Educating about our architectural heritage is a responsibility as it creates relations and bonding to historic sites, the environment and societies. Heritage describes our origins and informs our understanding of who we are today.
Architectural heritage was not a subject that young females use to study — or take on the obligation and responsibility to spread awareness about it or to educate worldwide. But, “as you start to walk on the way, the way appears.” Simple words always nail a way of living.
My passion for documenting architectural heritage developed while I was living in Spain. Working and studying was a changing point in my life. I noticed that preserving a monument is not a project or a way to make tourism flourish, but most importantly it is to preserve the identity of the land and people.
This work experience and knowledge built a greater responsibility inside me to preserve the heritage of the Kingdom. Heritage is the story of the historical, political and social relations and events in one land.
In the end, there is the day you are born and the day when you find out the reason for living. Follow your passion as there are no standards or regulations for the best way of living; your experience is your story.