Panchapuri 5, Surkhet
“I found out about his suffering in Riyadh only recently. He never said anything about it when we spoke because he did not want us to have more stress. But now, hearing his stories, my heart cries. I am glad he is back home now. At least he is safe and with him we will all survive somehow. I hope that if we continue fighting, and continue living, everything will eventually fall into place.
It was not easy for me in his absence. You see, money is not the only thing one needs. In times of unrest, one also needs emotional support, someone who gives you hope and tells you that things are going to be ok. I did not have that.
The school where I worked had to shut down and I had lost my income. At times, my son coughed constantly, but taking him to the hospital was out of the question because with the fear of Corona, the hospitals were not taking out-patients unless the case was severe. I gave him the prescribed medicines, but he continued coughing. He is better now, but there were times when I panicked. Food became scarce when my local shop shut down. Money is of no use when you cannot buy anything with it. I did not have money saved in a bank account. During that time, you could not find money anywhere. Nobody trusted you, not even for a mere 100 rupees.
I felt trapped but I had to venture out in search of food. I was afraid for myself and everyone I lived with that I would bring the virus home. My landlords were also scared and said that maybe it was better for everyone if I did not return to the house.
I decided it was best that I went to my mother’s nearby home for shelter and food so that we would not starve. But my brother is also a migrant so my mother was also struggling. We survived on relief that was distributed to us - rice, legumes, oil, salt and sugar.
What hurt me at the time, and I've told them this, was the fact that I did not receive support from my employer. But in retrospect, I understand their dilemma. It was a global situation that spared no one. They were afraid and because the future was uncertain, they prioritised their own well-being. I understand. I would have probably done the same thing. I forgive them now because they have given me work and are taking care of my needs. They give me extra hours to work and extra pay. When I need money during emergencies, they are the first people I go to.
After the lockdown, I returned to my rented room, but when my husband returned to Nepal, they did not allow him to stay with me. While some people were nice, many people thought migrants were virus carriers and stigmatized and discriminated against them. My husband and I met briefly for an hour or two, but then he headed to his village home.
Even though everything seems back to normal now and my husband has rejoined us, I am still afraid. What if it happens again? We all live with this sense of fear. Recently, my husband has started talking about going back to Saudi Arabia because he cannot find a job or obtain a loan of money to start a business. I do not know what to tell him. I just remind him of the hardships he had faced. I ask him not to leave again. In my heart, I feel if he stays here something will eventually come his way. For me, being together is the most important thing for our future. Being together is the most important thing for our son.”