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Nasser al-Naama

Nasser Al-Naama’s nanny, Yaya, with his sisters.

Hoping to show his childhood nanny how much he appreciated her, a Qatari man recently recorded a video thanking the woman in her native language.

The tribute was for Filipina expat Yaya Zubaidah, who left Qatar six years ago after working in the country for two decades.

Al-Naama said he chose to deliver his message in Tagalog to also show his gratitude for Qatar’s large Filipino population.

Speaking to Doha News, Al-Naama explained:

“I feel that the Filipino community is often overlooked and under-appreciated in Qatar, and it’s a shame.

“I recognized the power of story telling and tried to convey an important message of gratitude using the video.”

Tribute to Filipina nanny

Through his nanny, Al-Naama said he used to practice speaking Tagalog, and hopes to become fluent in it one day.

With the help of Jordan De La Cruz at Qatar Living, he was able to accurately translate his heartfelt message into the language.

Pixabay

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Describing Zubaidah as “the seventh member of our family,” Al-Naama said that that she had been “a quintessential part of (his) entire family’s life.”

In the video, he added:

“Because of her, I feel an immediate kinship with Filipinos anywhere I go in the world. Even though I can’t speak the language (yet), I feel like an extended family member of the global Kabayan community.”

Referencing the ongoing Gulf dispute, Al-Naama also highlighted the local Filipino community’s solidarity with his country.

“I especially want to thank you for standing by Qatar and showing your support during the recent crisis,” he said in Tagalog.

Separated by retirement

Zubaidah began working for Al-Naama’s family before he was born, and retired in 2011.

Her move back home to the Philippines to be with her family affected Al-Naama deeply, he said.

“Even though I knew she would retire one day, when it actually happened it was a completely different ball game. It was so hard.” 

Al-Naama added that he had found it hard to keep in contact with Zubaidah after she left because he was so upset.

But his message brought about a reunion, via Skype.

In scenes shared on Philippines television, Al-Naama was able to talk with his childhood nanny and tell he how much he missed her.

Showing visible emotion in the video, Al-Naama explained why he hadn’t kept in touch, and that he felt “really bad” about it.

“You were part of our lives for more than 20 years, and I wanted to do something. I didn’t just want to call you. I wanted to do something special,” he explained.

Sacrifices made

Like most domestic workers living abroad, Zubaidah was supporting her family back home.

Al-Naama said he knew that this meant she had to sacrifice being with her own husband and two daughters, to help raise someone else’s family.

Xavier Vergés/Flickr

For illustrative purposes only.

For this reason especially, he said that he believed people in Qatar should be “very compassionate” when employing staff who have had to leave their loved ones behind.

“She (Zubaidah) was always present in my life, when she wasn’t present for her biological children. Her daughter has said that her mum missed so many important events in her life.

I never underestimated that.”

Thoughts?

3dom/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Some 4,000 students in Qatar will begin their school year this month at the new Philippine School Doha’s QR123 million campus in Abu Hamour.

The four-story building is PSD’s first permanent home, after operating out of rented facilities for 24 years, according to the Gulf Times.

It sits on a government-donated 14,375 square meter plot next to the religious complex.

Classes were expected to begin yesterday, but have been postponed by a week due to an air conditioning malfunction, the newspaper added. They will officially start on July 9.

According to PSD’s website, the new school has:

  • 132 classrooms,
  • Four science labs,
  • A gym that can hold over 3,000 people, and
  • A swimming pool, among other features.

Science focus

The school likely won’t be called PSD for long.

Principal Dr. Alexander S. Acosta previously said it is expected to be renamed to the Philippine Science School of Doha (PSSD) once it receives accreditation.

It will then become the first Filipino science school in the region.

Thoughts?

Philippines embassy in Doha/Facebook

Philippines embassy in Doha

This story was updated on June 7 to reflect the ban has been scrapped

The Philippines has lifted a ban on nationals traveling to Qatar for work due amid a growing dispute between Gulf states, the local embassy in Doha has said.

It had only been in place for one day.

The move comes amid criticism from OFWs in Qatar about the ban, which they called an overreaction.

In a statement, Ambassador Alan Timbayan said:

“The Philippine Embassy in Doha continues to monitor developments in the region and calls on Filipinos to remain calm as there is no immediate reason to be concerned about the safety and security of Filipinos in Qatar.”

Temporary ban

Yesterday, the Philippines’ Department of Labor and Employment secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said the interim block would be in place until a government team studied the situation.

In a statement, he said:

“I temporarily suspend the deployment of our OFWs in the county of Qatar. This is for us to be able to assess the situation because there are so many wild rumors going around, saying things are not going well there. This suspension is for the welfare and protection of our OFWs.”

Government officials are being sent to Qatar and other Gulf countries to get an on-the-ground understanding of developments, Bello added.

Sanofi Pasteur/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

The move was to affect Filipinos who were planning to move to Qatar for the first time, as well as nationals already working in Doha.

The statement continued: “We need to study first the situation. For now, the protection of our migrant workers comes first. The duration of suspension of deployment will depend on the assessment of the situation with close coordination with the Department of Foreign Affairs.”

Interdependence

The decision followed announcements by seven nations to cut diplomatic ties with Qatar on Monday.

Additionally, the Gulf countries of Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain said they were closing land, air and sea access to Qatar.

QNA

For illustrative purposes only.

Amid the uncertainty following the development, Qatar officials have stressed that the dispute will not affect the normal course of life for citizens and residents in the country.

There are more than 260,000 Filipinos in Qatar, one of the country’s largest expat communities. It is unclear how or even if the ban will affect them.

But thousands more OFWs are expected to come to Qatar in the coming months for work.

QNA

Signing of Qatar-Philippines agreements.

Two months ago, Philippines President  Rodrigo Duterte made an official visit to Qatar, where he met with Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

He signed more than a dozen deals worth $206 million with the government and the private sector to secure some 6,000 jobs for Filipinos back home.

The Philippines’ economy relies heavily on remittances from its nationals working overseas.

In 2016, Filipinos based in the Middle East sent home $7.6 billion in remittances, Reuters reported.

Thoughts?