I already exchanged numbers with Harold when we were about to leave the Philippines. Being on my own at a foreign airport, I tried reaching him to ask where in the world they could be and why they left me behind. The least they could have done was wait for me and relay the next steps that I needed to undertake. I was clueless about what to do next that I went outside the airport to see if they happened to be there waiting for me. I was approached by an Arab and asked what I was doing there. I was fraught and sleepless that I did something stupid: get out of the airport premises. I replied that I was just waiting for somebody and decided it was better to wait inside, which the Arab agreed was the best thing to do, expressed in broken English and hand gestures. Harold’s message came some minutes later. It said that somebody came by to pick them up and that my name was not on the list of new hires the driver was to bring to the hospital in Dammam. I was dumbfounded; this was not something I signed up for. There was no heads-up that this was supposed to happen. I was left hanging, in the Middle East of all places.
I waited for hours in the airport for somebody to pick me up. I was groggy, so wanted to take a bath, and famished. I only had 100 Saudi Riyals in my pocket (about P1,200), money I had forex-ed way back in NAIA. I decided to get cellphone credits to contact the agency that deployed me and told them about what happened, to update my family that I am already in KSA, and call relatives that are working here. I also bought a can of soft drink because my voice had gotten hoarse from dryness and settled myself in the cafeteria waiting for eternity. I befriended two other Filipinos at the airport who had the same situation I was in. It helps ease the anxiety when you see kababayans around. We waited until morning, without sleep, for our respective sundos. As the hours passed, the two Filipinos I exchanged stories with were each picked by their designated drivers, leaving me alone again. Around 9:00 A.M., I asked the agency to forward the number of the hospital’s contact here. It was only when I called the HR officer that I learned I was to be assigned to another branch of the hospital, in Jubail.
It was already 10:00 A.M. when a foreign-looking person approached me in the cafeteria where I just finished munching on some sandwich, my breakfast for the day. He was carrying a rectangular piece of cardboard with the name of the hospital printed on it. He inquired if I was the person he was meeting, with the cardboard sign pointed at me. YES, I said out of spite. Finally, after 10 hours of flight from Manila to Doha, three hours waiting in Qatar for our 30-minute connecting flight to Dammam, from 2:00 A.M. to 10:00 A.M. in King Fahad Airport I was going to have my so badly needed rest. Boy, I was wrong.