Monday, 27 November 2006
Julie and Yousef Girafa met in 1979 in Barcelona, Spain. She was then working as receptionist at a private clinic on the fourth floor of the same building where Yousef worked as an accountant of the Libyan Air Cargo Department located on the sixth floor.
They often encounter each other on the ground floor of the building as they go on to their respective offices. At first there were shy smiles, then social greetings. Later Yousef found the courage to invite Julie to lunch and then to dinner dates.
After an uneventful courtship that lasted for a year, they got engaged in January of 1980. When their intention to marry was made known to both set of parents, Julie was required to undergo a three month study to learn the Koran and the Moslem faith. She then underwent an oral examination conducted by Sheik Ibrahim.
Julie and Yousef were required to submit several documents including birth certificates and the written consent of their parents. Yousef brought his mother to Barcelona to witness the simple wedding ceremony. Jasmin, their first child was born in December 1981 in Barcelona.
They came home to Tripoli in 1982 and Nargess, the second fruit of their marriage was born on July 23, 1984. This was followed by Ariesh on May 8, 1987 and, finally, Rabia, their only son, on October 14, 1990.
Married life was not luxurious but neither was it poor. However, things got more difficult after the bombing of Tripoli in 1986. It got worse during the years of the embargo from the years 1992 until 2000.
Julie’s father came for a visit in 1989 and stayed a year able to confirm to himself that Julie had not committed a regrettable union. He went home to the Philippines in February 1990 fully satisfied that he can leave Julie in very capable and caring hands.In deed, Yousef proved that he is a wonderful husband.
Except for some little deprivations, life went on blissfully. Now, Jasmin has graduated in medicine and is currently taking her internship in Furnaj Hospital.
Nargess took second honors in the whole Jamahiriya when she graduated the secondary level. She has now graduated Law again placing second in the examination results. Ariesh is starting college this year and, Rabia is at present a second year student in a secondary school.
When asked as to how she finds life in Tripoli, Julie will always assure you, she is happy and well satisfied with her decision to leave the Philippines.
The life she knew by coming halfway round the world was more than enough to make her ultimately grateful. All these together with the man she loves.