Saudi Mothers Miss Their Children Abroad Terribly During Ramadan
“I haven’t even done my usual Ramadan grocery haul, I just can’t. My entire being is fixated on my son and making sure he’s well"
© Tasneem Sultan
Ramadan under lockdown this year comes with hardships for Muslim families all around the world. With many families torn apart due to necessary confinement, loved ones are resorting to all technology can offer to live up to the Ramadan spirit and next, the festivities of Eid. In the Kingdom, the government is still doing its best to provide support and necessities to Saudi expats and immigrants. But after all, nothing can tame the unrest in the hearts of separated families. Speaking to Arab News, Saudi mothers have shared some heartbreaking testimonials on being separated from their children during the Holy month.
Aziz Sayem, a Saudi mother devastated that her son is not home for Ramadan
Aziza Sayem, owner of Ugur Restaurant in Jeddah, bid farewell to her son Moayed as he left for Cairo to film a medical program set to air in Ramadan. When COVID-19 broke out and all fights in & out of KSA were suspended, her son got stuck in the Egyptian capital...
“I’m crying every day, hoping he comes back safe. Luckily, we have technology. We’ve been communicating through FaceTime a lot, and he’s optimistic,” she told Arab News. “He wants to come home, though, as a doctor. He said he wants to be on the frontline to serve his country and his people," told Sayem to Arab News.
She went on to praise the Kingdom's effort in offering prime services to reassure Saudis abroad: "When my son called the embassy, they went above and beyond, placing him in a 4-star hotel. He’s being fed and getting regular check-ups."
Amal Turkistani, a Saudi mother who was supposed to spend Ramadan with her daughter in the U.S
“It’s heartbreaking; my daughter is pregnant and this is our first Ramadan apart. We’re keeping in touch frequently on a Snapchat group and we video chat all the time,” Turkistani told Arab News.
The Jeddah resident is saddened that her daughter will have to give birth without the supportive presence of her family. She had moved to the US last year with her husband, who is pursuing his Master’s degree in Miami. Luckily, her beloved mother cheers her up with advice and sends her virtual love:
“My daughter acts strong and puts a tough face on but I’m sure she’s afraid of delivering a baby all by herself. I’ve given her many recipes — samosa and soups — as well as food to avoid now that she’ll be nursing. I asked her to stay at home and make sure everything is sanitized, and to keep her appointments to a minimum with intervals between them, and to shop and pack things early.”
Azza Yousef worries about her son in Seattle, a hard-hit area in the United States
Azza Yousef cannot wait to see her son back from Seattle. He is currently completing his final semester in engineering in the American city and it hasn't been easy for the family.
“They discovered patient zero there, the first COVID-19 patient in the US, and it’s been (stressful) because he doesn’t tell me anything so I don’t worry. I find out about things on the news,” she told Arab News.
Having finished his finals earlier this month after weeks of virtual classes, her son is ready to come home.
“He doesn’t know what to do with his furniture and car. The situation is honestly alarming and unprecedented, that’s why we’re all trying to stay patient,” Yousef added.
Ramadan doesn't feel the same with her son away and this Saudi mother's heart will not rest anytime soon. “I haven’t even done my usual Ramadan grocery haul,” she said. “I just can’t. My entire being is fixated on my son and making sure he’s well"