David Docherty holds a copy of an article from the English language Qatar Tribune, describing the progress of the Friendship Causeway.
ST. ANN - David Docherty is building bridges to unite cultures in a volatile region of the world. Literally.
The St. Ann resident isn't a diplomat, he's a bridge builder, a veteran of the Confederation Bridge project.
Docherty is working on designs for the Friendship Causeway, connecting Bahrain to Qatar, two of the most prosperous countries in the Middle East. Site work begins in the spring.
"The bridge joins the whole of the east coast of various Arab states together," said the 55-year-old British ex-pat.
Making pieces fit together is Docherty's job - pieces can weigh thousands of tons each.
"When we develop a bridge it's like a giant jigsaw puzzle."
The initial designs called for a 40-km span but Docherty says the project's financial backers, Bahrain and Qatar, learned it would fall short of the world record. They decided to extend it an extra five kilometres.
Docherty works for a German engineering firm, Hochtief, and is back in P.E.I. for a short break. He returns to the Middle East today.
His wife Francie has joined him several times on overseas projects, including, more recently, Doha.
She won't be accompanying him until the project is further along since daughter Jessamyn, 17, is attending high school. Their older daughter, Bailey, 19, is in university.
The couple say all that's needed to live comfortably in the region is a basic respect for its culture and traditions.
"I'm actually looking forward to going back," said Francie.
"I had the opportunity of meeting and speaking with some Muslim women and learning about their culture.
"From what I saw women seem to be quite sure of themselves.
"They seem to be quite happy."
The harsh climate there can be daunting.
"The temperatures get to 55 degrees in the summertime, pretty hot," he said.
"But after the first year of being there you really get used to the higher temperatures.
"It's more difficult when you come back to Canada."