Since then, my other siblings and myself decided to unite ourselves in prayer as our way of consoling each other amidst the anxiety that we felt toward my brother Domeng’s working in Iraq. We felt very helpless. There were not too many options left to us, even if the only thing left actually was for him to come home. We made it a point to offer our chain of prayer for his safety. My youngest sister offered a rosary everyday for him. On my part, the Eucharist was my daily offering. I did not bother of course to ask my other siblings to offer the same, but I am sure that the rest of my siblings were saying special prayers for his and his companions’ safety.
For over seven months, our family was in constant state of fear and anxiety. He was not allowed to receive a phone call or even letters. We only had to content ourselves with his long distance calls, which came in mostly on Fridays. Each time I heard or read in the papers about the bombing in Baghdad, I had to pray even more that his name was not among the victims mentioned. I had been looking forward for his safe return to Dubai where he was originally contracted to work. On the six months in Baghdad, Domeng along with the two other Filipinos were told that they will soon go home, but that never happened until their working visas were about to expire. He did try his best to contact their company in Dubai, but they were not assisted. Nobody attended to their repeated requests.
Amidst the constant bombing within Baghdad inside a US military base where they were actually working, he was telling me that they started doing odd jobs which were no longer part of their contracts. He even described his work as really dehumanizing. Imagine them cleaning the pipes running from residences to the septic tank that has exploded. Sensing that his company was disinterested to get them out of Iraq, my brother decided to find a way how to leave Iraq before their visa will finally expire. This made me more worried and upset. Our conversations were very limited to his brief and untimely calls. Sometimes I got to know of his condition through his brief calls to any of my siblings. Maybe he was trying to reach just any one of us to let us know that he was safe. Nevertheless, I was always anxious of his critical situation.
God must have a way to help people who try their best to help themselves. Accidentally, my brother met their Canadian supervisor who had resigned earlier from their company, but came again to Baghdad, but this time working with another company. “He must have been an angel,” I told him in one of the long distance conversation we had. After being informed of my brother’s condition, his former Canadian colleague immediately assisted them to go out Iraq just before their visas expired. In our last conversation before he departed Baghdad, I instructed him to go to the labor attachè of the Philippines in Dubai.
During the time that he...
… to be continued