Diana Szostek-Lynn, Tim Barger, and Connie Shaw-Schmidt

Even though I have never worked for Saudi Aramco, I have been a close follower of this company. I had to. I was born and raised in the middle of the oil fields that this company had been discovering since 1938. My association and fascination of this company started at a very early stage of my life through the many cousins who worked for Aramco and later on when I attended schools in Al Hassa that are built and maintained by Aramco. In addition, I have written many articles about Aramco both in English and Arabic. And I don’t think there is a book or a publication about Armaco that I haven’t read. But, I was unaware of one thing about Aramco. I simply didn’t know it existed. Yes, I heard about it, but ignored it. It is called Aramco Brats. I heard about Aramco Brats many years ago. But, what I have heard about them is that they are called Aramco kids. Simply put, they were the sons, daughters, grandsons and granddaughters of former Aramco employees… Silly me… Because later on I realized that these kids are in their 40s, 50s and some of them even in their 60s. These big, very big kids were born and raised in Saudi Arabia. They were third generation kids. Their fathers or grandfathers came to Saudi Arabia to look for oil during the beginning of the first oil discoveries. Not only these kids, but even fathers of some of them were born in Saudi Arabia. Most of them are from the United States, but there are also many Aramco Brats from other parts of the world. Now, they are scattered all over the world. As a matter of fact Aramco Brats operate as a full-fledged organization. They have their own website and board of directors. And they even have annual reunions. And what surprised me is that their current president is an American from India named Hirath Ghori whose father came to work for Aramco in Saudi Arabia in 1953. That is many years before I was born. Honestly, I was born a few years after 1953. Hirath was born in India in 1960 and he and his family left Saudi Arabia in 1983. But, guess what? Hirath is back in Saudi Arabia. Now, when I looked at the long list of Aramco Brats board of directors and read more about them and their activities, I realized that these Brats were probably raised and educated in the best environment. Not because of Aramco or Saudi Arabia, but because their fathers and grandfathers came to Saudi Arabia with skills and education that are appreciated all over the world. And they raised their kids in foreign environment. They mixed with the local people in Saudi Arabia and with those from around the world. This broadened their thinking and made them appreciate the world they live in. In addition, many of these young kids (now old) have traveled at a very young age to many parts of the world where they spent some of their vacations. This helped them in their education. Most of them attended schools in Saudi Arabia and later on joined universities back in the United States or other countries. But, many of them were ahead of others in knowing other people’s cultures, politics and geography of the world. As we know, expatriates have more time to study at home because of the nature of their parents’ work habit. In other words, the more I read about the Aramco Brats, the more I knew they lived differently from many other people. Many of the Aramco Brats saw Saudi Arabia emerge as a developed country. They saw it develop in every sector — education, health care, aviation, transportation and many other fields. Projects pertaining to these sectors were initiated by Saudi Aramco and in reality the fathers and grandfathers of Aramco Brats were behind the projects. I will write about the relations between Aramco Brats, Saudi young men and women and Saudi Aramco achievements. But, for the time being, I do apologize to Aramco Brats for revealing their real ages. Many Saudis still think that Aramco Brats are just kids. They are simply, sons, daughters, grandsons and granddaughters of former Aramco employees... Aramco Brats, I didn’t know you call Saudi Arabia…Home.

Abdulateef Al-Mulhim

Written by Abdulateef Al-Mulhim. Aramco Brats: I Didn’t Know reprinted with permission of Arab News and Abdulateef Al-Mulhim.