How a domestic worker in Saudi Arabia became a writer

The 21-year-old Chadian’s book featured at the Jeddah Book Fair, and is the fruit of four years of writing

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Ameena Issa al-Aqeed, a Chadian domestic worker published a book entitled ‘I have a homeland but’ and narrated her suffering away from her country Chad and explained how much she longs to visit it.

The 21-year-old’s book featured at the Jeddah Book Fair, and is the fruit of four years of writing.

Aqeed spoke with Al-Arabiya.net about some of the difficulties she confronted before she could publish her book.

She said that after contacting the publishing house, Dar al-Adab al-Arabi, and sending paper copies of the book, she was asked to send an electronic copy so she had to go to a library to type it, adding that she also faced some problems contacting the publishing house via e-mails to approve amendments and for other communications regarding the book as she did not have internet where she works.

Aqeed, however, said the publishing house cooperated with her and this helped her publish her book this year and release it at the Jeddah Book Fair.

Negative messages

The biggest obstacle she faced was the frustrating and negative messages conveyed to her by the families she worked for when they realized she was writing a book, she said.

Aqeed added that she worked hard to save money for publishing the book and borrowed money from her friends to provide half of the required amount, adding that the publishing house helped her by paying the other half.

Aqeed is the 11th child to her parents who have lived in Saudi Arabia for 30 years.

She explained that she does not know anything about her country and that all she knows about Chad is what her mother narrated to her, adding that she has not visited he home country because of her difficult financial situation.

Aqeed could not pursue her dream of going to college after high school due to her financial constraints.

However, this did not end her passion for writing as she used to write her thoughts after finishing her working hours.