Expats in UAE miss spending Eid with family amid global travel restrictions
Dubai: Several expats in the UAE will be observing Eid Al Fitr without their families for a second year in a row, thanks to global travel restrictions to check the spread of COVID-19.
Indian expatriate Haskar Choori, 35, a professional sales executive in Dubai, said he has not met his wife and five-year-old son for more than a year now. “I could never have imagined that I would not spend Eid with my family this year too. But sadly, this is the case.”
Choori, who does social service as well, said he could not be with his family as he could not fly to India. He said his wife, Zulfana, 27, and son Mohammed Izin Atash will be with his parents in Kasargod Kerala, while he will be alone here.
He said, “Every year, back in India, I would help my wife in preparing a feast. The entire family, including my cousins, uncles, aunt would meet up. But all that has changed now.”
It is the same situation with Filipina expatriate Laila Jamire, 32, who works as a contracts administrator for a private firm in Dubai. “This Eid is a very sad one for me. My father passed away on November 7, 2020. I could not travel home to bid him goodbye. There is no chance of me flying out now either. The pandemic has left us with a lot of uncertainty.”
Jamire’s mother, two brothers and sister are back in Philippines. Two of her sisters live here in Dubai. “It’s a huge challenge to travel these days. So we can only think of being together virtually this Eid.”
Bai Norhaya, 39, a laboratory quality manager working for a hospital in Dubai, said this Eid will once again be spent away from family. “I will celebrate Eid with my friends who are like family to me.”
She said she is unable to get away for Eid. “I don’t feel comfortable travelling home now as there is still so much uncertainty because of the COVID-19 situation back home. I miss my family a lot,” said Norhaya, who has eight siblings but has lost her parents.
“On Eid day, my friends and I are planning to go to the park and spend the day there.” The family will get together for Eid on Zoom, she added.
Pakistani expat Anna Khan, 35, a fashion stylist and content creator, said she and her husband, Qaisar KD, 37, who works as an account manager in Dubai, are both missing their parents, siblings and extended family. “Unfortunately, we cannot travel. All we can do now is wish our family well via Zoom. It is unfortunate, but we have to deal with it.”
Anna said she hoped things would change for the better. “Eid is a special occasion, one that is spent with loved ones,” she said, hoping that the global pandemic situation would ease, enabling families to be together again.