I’ve been getting a lot of questions from people about what my living situation here in Saudi Arabia is like, and what exactly it’s like to live on a compound. Single women in Saudi are not permitted to live freely as we do back home. Part of my work contract includes housing and all female nurses are housed on the hospital compound. Essentially this means that we live on the hospital property. It’s an enormous area with several different housing complexes ranging from studios to 1-3 bedroom apartments depending on your pay grade. We have access to gyms and pools. Most of the accommodations are shared with another hospital employee. Some of them have in-suite laundry, others have laundry facilities on each floor. The accommodations here are a little dated . I think it has the feel of an 80’s all women’s rehab facility (which is kinda fitting seeing as Saudi Arabia is an alcohol free country). Men are housed in only one of the complexes (which is separated by a fence to prevent male and female mixing) or else they live outside of the hospital compound. Men are not allowed into our housing areas. In fact when returning from running errands its not uncommon to have the trunk of the car searched (I’m unclear if this is for security reasons or to make sure there are no men stowed in there!)
So what exactly is a compound? Well, pretty much what it sounds like- a walled secured housing area. Some of the compounds around Riyadh are huge- with their own schools, stores, and restaurants on them. Often security is very tight to get in, with armed guards and specific security procedures. Other compounds are much less nice and much less secured.
The hospital I work at is completing several different construction projects, so parts of it are like a construction site with road closures and construction workers a plenty. There are some growing pains, but when its all finished there will be some 1200 patient beds in it. This is the largest hospital I’ve ever worked at. With this growth comes the need for some 500 more nurses and with the growing need of nurses comes the issue of where to house them. One of the current construction projects includes another all women housing complex. They are currently building/digging some type of project eerily close to the building that I live in. So here are some photos to give you a better idea!!