From Tripoli to Kyiv
I’ve had Uber drivers from all over the world, but not in until recently, from Libya. We had a good conversation and shared both a ride and our mutual love for Ukraine. My conversation with Ibrahim (not real name) follows.
Ibraham: теперь так холодно. Горячий один день, а затем холодный следующий. Это Украина, да? (it is so cold now. It is hot one day and then cold the next. That’s Ukraine, right?)
Bryan: Да, каждый день отличается (yes, every day is different)
Ibrahim (Recognizes my accent and switches to English): It’s ok. I still love it here.
Bryan: Your name is Arabic – may I ask where you are from?
Ibrahim: Yes, I am from Libya.
Bryan: Interesting. My wife has worked there before.
Ibrahim: Before or after the revolution?
Ibrahim: Things really changed after the revolution. Now Libya is dangerous and it is really a mafia state. I used to have money, I used to be a successful businessman in Libya. Now anyone with a gun can take what you have worked for. So here I am driving Uber to pay for rent and food for my wife here in Kyiv. But I am not complaining. I am happy to be here and thank God for Ukraine. Here I can work easily, people are so nice, and you can live a kind life.
Bryan: I love being here too. Life is Interesting isn’t it? An American and a Libyan in a car together talking about how much they love the country they both live in.
Ibrahim: People here are nice to you regardless of what your religion or your race is. It’s not like that in a lot of the world. People make me feel welcome.
Bryan: And how long have you been in Ukraine?
Ibrahim: About two years, going back and forth. Before the revolution, I was married to a Libyan woman. When we fled Libya we went to Jordan together and I bought an expensive apartment for us. Then things did not work out and we became divorced. I gave her the apartment so she would have a place to live. It was the honorable thing to do. But now she has a new man and she wants to live in the apartment with him. I am not ok with that. That’s frustrating but I am very happy to be here with my second wife, who is Ukrainian, and thanks to God, we have a beautiful child. I took my wife to Libya once and she said she didn’t think she could ever live there. Honestly, I feel the same way now. I am Libyan but Ukraine is home.
Bryan: And how do you feel about Ukrainian food? Borscht? Verenekyi?
Ibrahim: My wife cooks Ukrainian food and I like all of it. We eat it all the time.
Bryan: Do you have family in Libya still?
Ibrahim: I do. I have so many sisters. You wouldn’t believe it. Ten. They live in Tripoli, Misrata, Sirte, and Benghazi. I used to visit them all the time. Now we see each other less. Libya is still very troubled – too many governments, too many guns, too much fighting. I don’t know if it will ever be the same again.
Bryan: I hope for peace in Libya and in Ukraine.
Ibrahim: I do as well.
Bryan: Are you driving all night?
Ibrahim: Just until ten o clock. A few more rides and then I will return to my wife. I should go back and spend time with her.
Bryan: That’s my stop over there. I enjoyed talking to you. Have a good weekend!