I arrived in Saudi Arabia during the month of Ramadan. As a Muslim, it was always my dream to visit and now I work here as a nurse in Makkah. I had a lot of hopes and positivity. I knew this is my new beginning. I am amazed by the place and the hospitality of the people. I still clearly remember my first day of work because everyone was so nice. Since it was Ramadan, the patients and their families shared to us a lot of food, even money and would ask us what we want. Our supervisors back home, would definitely frown upon this practice but here they allowed us to receive gifts. In their culture, refusing to accept these gifts is seen as disrespectful. On the same day, I also encountered a man who tried to ask me some questions. I noticed that he was looking away during our whole conversation. I wondered whether the man had nystagmus or involuntary eye movement. I would always look at the person’s face or eyes whenever I talk to them because I was taught that this is a way to be polite. However, where I am now most men won’t look at women in their faces if its not their family member since it’s an Islamic teaching to respect women and this is one way. Three years and I’m still here, adapting and learning new ways as well as enjoying my time. Being a nurse is more than a job. We’re the ones who witness life and death everyday but I’ve never regretted the choice of pursuing this career.

- Qapwa

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