Still reeling from the death of a 20-year-old Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar (WCMC-Q) student this week, members of the Education City community came together yesterday to pay their respects to Jaber Al-Adba.
The second-year pre-medical school student died in a motorcycle accident on Wednesday.
During an emotional impromptu ceremony at the female dorms’ majlis on Thursday afternoon, friends, staff and faculty from many of EC’s universities assembled in a show of support and solidarity for Al-Adba.
The gathering was organized by the Hamad Bin Khalifa University Housing and Residence Life team.
Al-Adba, a Qatari who was the eldest son of a doctor at Al-Ahli Hospital, was buried Wednesday evening at the Abu Hamour cemetery.
Many of the over 100 people who gathered yesterday showed up clad in black, and shared their thoughts and feelings over the passing of Al-Adba.
Al-Adba’s cousin, who is also a Cornell student, explained the events leading up Wednesday’s fatal accident. He said a group of friends had lunch on campus, and then he traded his motorcycle with Al-Adba for his car because “he told me (to) take the car and go with my friend and drop him to the dorms.”
The cousin continued:
“I said okay and gave him the motorbike. The day before he died, he was sleeping next to me, and laughing. He always left his dorm and his room and slept next to me…But today, he’s sleeping next to God.”
Several students reminisced about Al-Adba during the memorial, recalling his selfless and loyal nature, use of “terrible puns” and positive disposition.
One Cornell student remembered how Al-Adba insisted on accompanying her to the hospital when she had a fall.
Another, an American student who had moved to Qatar to pursue higher education, spoke of how Al-Adba was one of the first people to show him around the country, despite not knowing him.
“He was the funniest person,” said another student. “He’s never met someone and not made them feel special.”
Faculty and Student Affairs staff at WCMC-Q also joined in and shared their memories.
A professor who taught Al-Adba spoke of his charm, and of the conversations they used to have, calling him a”‘wicked bright” student.
A Students Affairs staffer remembered him as someone always ready to help or volunteer, with an endearing cheeky streak.
“They say that you can either have a few close friends, or many shallow friends…Jaber was one of the few who defied this,” said another student who knew him.
Out of respect for Al-Adba’s passing, WCMC-Q has postponed its annual White Coat Ceremony, an event where students who have successfully completed two years of premedical studies are presented with white coats, commemorating the start of their four-year medical school career.
More broadly, Ya Hala, an EC tradition celebrating the end of the first week of classes and welcoming the freshman class, has also been rescheduled.
Meanwhile, a group of Al-Adba’s friends have set up donation boxes at most of the universities in Education City and the residence halls.
Proceeds will be donated to Qatar Charity in Al-Adba’s name. Based on the amount raised, the money would be used to either build a mosque, a well, or to print Qurans.
Indirectly speaking to the WCMC-Q community, the Al-Adba family has also offered to repay any outstanding “dayn” that Al-Adba owed.
“We have received a humble request from Jaber’s father that if Jaber owes anyone any financial obligations or belongings, to please come forth and let the family know so that it can be settled as soon as possible,” read an email sent by WCMC-Q’s Student Affairs.
HBKU, under the auspices of QF, is also organizing transportation for condolence visits to Al-Adba’s family today.
Two buses, one at the Residence Halls, and another from WCMC-Q, will begin running at 6pm today.
Female students are asked to keep with Islamic tradition and wear black abayas, no jewelry, and no perfume while visiting the family of the deceased.
Those interested in donating in Al-Adba’s memory but unable to make the trip to EC can call 3351 2132.
WCMC-Q will also be hosting an official memorial next week on Wednesday night, though no more details are available at the moment.
Note: Doha News has removed the photo of Al-Adba from this story at the request of his family.