Photo Credit: IOM/Shaebi Ahmed
“After working for two years as a nurse back home in the Philippines, my husband found a job in Libya. I moved there with him in 1982. Back then, you couldn’t find many of the things you might need, but I didn’t find it difficult to live here. Life was good, and even though my salary was not a lot it was not expensive to live in Libya. I stayed there until 1990 when my first contract ended, then I moved back to the Philippines, but only for few months. I was able to get a new contract, so I came back to Libya.
I have three children – two of them were born here. So, when I turned 50, I had a ceremony in an event hall which is usually used for weddings. Using 50 roses, I celebrated the occasion with my friends and family to thank God for reaching this age, and to show appreciation for having wisdom in my life and for raising good children.
My kids used to work in Libya as well, but after the 2011 events, I sent them back to the Philippines. By then, two of them were married and had their own children. Now the situation is different here. Even though my husband officially has a job with the Maltese embassy, they have closed and now only give allowances rather than salaries.
I love Libya and the people here have accepted me, despite cultural and religious differences. My stay in Libya will end when my contract ends. I’m planning to go back home. I did what I had to do, I bought a house, gave my children a good education. Now it’s time for me.”