Photo credit: IOM/Shaebi Ahmed
"I came from a big family and I am the youngest girl. My parents never wanted me to leave and work abroad. We are very close, and they used to tell me “you are here - you don’t know how to live abroad.” But after my father died and I got married, I spent six years working in Philippines. I wanted to get out. I wanted to go to America. This was the dream of a young girl. But I saw it, and the world, while working in a hospital in Abu Dhabi. They choose some nurses, including me, to serve the mother of Sheikh Mubarak. It was a nice experience to serve a royal family and go all around the world with them. I had to change my passport twice, because I had no papers left for the visas. Then I got bored of travelling, but I had to stay in Abu Dhabi because of my job. But there came a point where I needed my own freedom and to relieve the stress of taking care of a high-profile person.
I was interviewed for a job by a Libyan delegate, who promised me many things. But when I got here things were different. Since I arrived here, I have been the nurse’s supervisor in the Oncology department. It’s really tough. It was hard, at first, to work in the hospital because it is too big and crowded. I asked, “Is this a hospital, or a shopping mall?”
Over the many years that I have been here, I have just adapted. What motivates me to do my job is the patients. Especially in these times, even if I don’t work with patients directly, this is still what keeps me coming to serve them. But now, under the current tense circumstances int he country, we lack everything. For many months, the central storage has been empty. I keep trying to find someone to donate, and some give me money to at least buy the surgical tubes. And under this situation, everyone is angry and now most of the staff have started working side jobs in the private sector. None of us have received our monthly salaries for a long time.
What I love about Libya is people themselves. They are so nice and simple. I have attended a few weddings and I like the fashion. I only go to see the gowns, as they are so nice. Everyone shows off their dresses. On the side, I enjoy playing my guitar and playing in church. I spend most of the time in housing with my colleagues. We used to do parties and birthdays, but now the economic situation that effected Libyans is also affecting us. We can’t even send or receive from outside cash in banks. And within the black-market exchange, my salary is worth ess than $200 USD."