Photo credit: IOM/Shaebi Ahmed
"I came to Libya three years ago, in 2014, to join my husband who has been in Libya since 2011. I was happy in Lahore and I had a job but my reason for coming was to be with my husband. He is a very well-educated person, so we wanted him to find a good job, which he could not find in Pakistan. Once he got an offer from a company here, he moved to give us a better life.
Libyan culture is not super different to Pakistani culture, as it’s a Muslim country. I’m Christian and I wear the Hijab to keep a low profile and mix in with society. My family in-law has been living here forever, so once I arrived I already had a support system. They know everything about Libya. My husband always liked Libya – he grew up here with his brothers. He was going back and forth to Pakistan. His father died here, in fact, and my mother in law is still here. She used to work as a nurse too.
Some people here, in the Tripoli Medical Centre, face problems with communication because they don’t speak Arabic. But since I speak Urdu, it’s easier for me to communicate with the society. I like my job here. I’m working in the same role as I did in Pakistan, but my salary here is better than it was there.
For now, we are planning to stay here for another four or five years. My children are studying in the Pakistani school in Tripoli and they have Libyan classmates. Actually, my two children speak better Arabic than me. They have the Libyan accent. We’re planning to go back to Pakistan to visit, as I miss my parents. I haven’t seen them since I left. I also have a promise to keep to my children. We will be taking them to “Murree” – a beautiful landscape area of mountains. They always wanted to go there, but my husband was in Libya, so I kept telling them once your father is back we will go all together.
At first, I didn’t want to come to Libya because the services for children are better in Pakistan, but I wanted to stay with my husband. My children are happy here."