Surely, my recent odyssey to the Island of Kish is one of the most memorable experiences of my life. Just try to picture out traveling into an unfamiliar land with no familiar face and place to keep your weary soul and frightened heart at ease, when you are just another Filipino Overseas Contract Worker chasing on an elusive fulfillment of a lifelong dream.
From the moment I stepped inside Kish infamous and dilapidated airline, an acrid and pungent smell of excreta and other bodily waste irritated the very most sense of my olfactory nerves. Along with it are the jittery looks of my fellow men and women, all trying to satisfy their gastric needs by munching down on flavorless stale bread and gulping on an awfully packed juice prepared by an unfriendly flight attendant.
After an arduous 45 minutes of flight, the miniscule plane landed like a bug on a fly trap, it felt like I was a shaken canned sardine, battered and in shock. We we’re fetched by an unusual bus that drove us directly to a slackened and unmaintained hotel. Throughout the travel and into the hotel, bonds and ties of new friendship have been made. This new camaraderie made me feel that I was not alone in this hard and laborious journey. A feeling of belongingness to a group had put me down to my bed and into a very sound and worthwhile sleep.
The harsh Persian sunlight hit my eyes late in the morning. I was panning my head 360 degrees, trying to familiarize myself into the 4 corners of my room and the five Malay faces that surrounded me. The jitters and fret didn’t left me as I thought is should be. So I walked out of our room, to find another breathing human being. Outside, a tree had cast shadow on a group of seated individuals talking and laughing their hearts out. Their rowdiness and lewd looks has been the same faces that I’ve seen a night before I went to sleep. They’d waved at me and ask me to join their looney conversation, at that moment I felt that I was someway closer to home.
Days have passed our bonds have become stronger… Friends are now brothers bound by fate. There was a commonality between us that can only be felt. It’s not the similarity of our face, color and race, the common thing about all of us is that we are all cast away. Cast aways of high hopes and broken promises. We are all waiting patiently for a single piece of paper that holds the key to our freedom from this piece of land that can be compared to a hall of correction and imprisonment.
We shared food and drinks together. Tell stories about each other… some story are so grandeur that can alter the meaning of reality. Even some are so incredible that can falsify the course of history. Many are stories of struggles, of hardship and pain that could make you weep like a kid with a broken toy. Others are so inspirational that could make you jump for joy. Their stories have kept me preoccupied and forget my litany of disappointments and infuriation.
Finally, after 10 days of waiting period… My visa has arrived. A single piece of paper that my other comrades have been waiting in agony is finally in my own hands. It’s now time for me to go back to the metro life of a Filipino expat in Abu Dhabi. It is gut-wrenching to see that this time around we don’t share the same happiness and adulation with each other. If only I could tear a piece of my visa to them, just to let them out of this figurative incarceration, but I can’t. Sadly I can’t… So I bid my brothers farewell and hope for them all the best. May we see each other again… In the Will of God… Salaam Alaikum my Island friends…
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