He was healthy when he went
In June 2012, Payyavula Laxmi received a call from her husband who worked as an electrician in Qatar that he had fainted at work. - He was hospitalized for a couple of days. The doctors found something wrong with his neck, Laxmi says by phone from the Telangana region's Karim Nagar district. Two months later, Devarajam died. - It turned out that he had a tumor in his brain. It was found at the autopsy after his death. Probably the occupational health doctors in Qatar did not find anything or they never revealed the information, says Laxmi. Nine years after the father's death, the family has not yet been able to repay the loans.
Told to the journalistic platform Blankspot
In June of 2012 Payyavula Laxmi received a phone call from her husband, Devarajam. He told her that he had passed out at work.
“He was hospitalized for observation for a few days. The doctors found something wrong with his neck,” Laxmi says on the phone from her home in Karim Nagar district of Telangana in India.
After a few days the husband, who had just turned 40 and worked as an electrician in Qatar, was sent home. The wife thought it was strange since he was healthy when he left, not long ago, and had been through several physical examinations in order to get the job.
Two months after he returned from Qatar, September 28, 2012, Devarajam died in the local hospital.
“It turned out he had a brain tumor, they found it at the autopsy,” Laxmi says. “The company doctor either didn’t find it, or they didn’t say anything.”
The couple has two daughters, 18 and 20. Before he went to Qatar, Devarajam worked in Abu Dhabi for two years as an electrician.
“We have a small farm here but the land is not enough to produce food, and pay for our daughters schooling. We also need money for their dowries,” Laxmi says. That’s why we decided that my husband would work in the Gulf. But he didn’t really make as much as we had hoped. Only about $130 per month.”
Back in 2012, the only way to stay in touch was by phone. WhatsApp or other apps were not available.
When he was hospitalized, Devarajam, had free healthcare thanks to his work visa, which at that time also worked as insurance, so he hardly had to pay anything.
But when he came back to India, the situation was different.
“We immediately had to take a loan when he got sick. The first week at the hospital cost $52, and then he ended up in a coma for over a week. I borrowed money from our neighbors, money that I still haven’t been able to pay back. All he wanted to do was work for us and so his daughters could get married and maybe we could build a house for ourselves.”
Not long after Devarajam’s death, his elderly parents also passed away and Laxmi had to borrow more money to afford the funerals. In addition to those loans, Devarajam had borrowed about $1,200 before he left to pay the middleman who arranged the job for him.
Nine years later, the family still hasn’t been able to pay back those loans. Laxmi works full time in the cotton fields, and some times she also works at the neighboring families fields as a day laborer.
“I barely make $40 per month, but I want to pay a little bit each month or as soon as I can,” she says. “I am also saving for my daughters’ education.”