Photo credit: IOM/Shaebi Ahmed
“I came to Libya in 1985, and spent my first nine years in a small town called Surman. I was working as a nurse in the city’s main hospital. I came with my husband, when he first got a job with a company here, and my son. During my stay, God blessed me with a second child. It was nice to have a girl in the family.
As our contracts changed, we also changed locations, and went to live in Benghazi. We finally settled in Tripoli. I’m from Manila so it was great for me to move back to a big city. It’s more practical to live in a big city as there are always activities and places where you can take your children. Tripoli also has a Philippine high school, so it was good for my children to study there.
My daughter went back to the Philippines for her undergraduate studies. She became a nurse, like me, and then came back to Libya and worked at the same hospital as me for almost three years before she moved again. It felt good to see her following in my footsteps, as I could also mentor her to do better at her job. My son, who also grew up in Libya, used to work here. But because of the difficult situation, both of my children couldn’t stay and moved to Dubai.
My husband wants to move because he lost his job when the company he worked for closed. What keeps him here, is wanting to stay by my side. We are suffering just like the Libyans these days. To improve my situation, I work part-time after I finish with my main job, so we can afford to live here. Our salaries are now stuck, and we can’t even transfer them abroad because of the economic problems in the county. Everything is more expensive than it was before.
You see, I owe my children’s education, my house back home and my job experience to Libya. I can say that I love Libya, because it has given me lots of good things. During the revolution, doctors and local staff members asked me to go back home. I told them, ‘this is my home, I can’t leave Libya like that.’ But as I grow older, I feel that I will leave Libya at some point. And when I do, I will miss the Libyan bakeries so much – especially the bread. It’s so good and different to the ones we have at home!”