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[Blog] Letter from a pilot’s wife

Pilote

For the last few days the main headlines in the newspapers are about the financial crisis of our national airlines. 50% of the pilots will be fired in next few days. Journalists describing “enormous” salaries and benefits which they get. But I want to present you another side of the “luxury” life of pilots and their families. 

My husband is Mauritian but before getting the job in his own country he has been flying for different Airline in the world! Why? Many reasons: The National airline didn’t recruit, the pilots demand for Air Mauritius was saturated, expats taking preferential places on the basis that they were supposedly better and more experience, he didn’t have enough experience for Air Mauritius (but enough experience for other worldwide renowned airlines!). Is he the only one? No, a lot of Mauritian pilots are struggling all over the world and most of them want to be back home, close to their parents, friends... they dream to be home and to be proud to fly for their national airline! 

But let’s go back to the life of a pilot’s family. We wives of pilots need to refuse from our motherland, career, wishes... we are choosing to follow our husbands. For most of you simple travelling is a mission: you need to pack bags, not forget anything... Now imagine that every 2 years (minimum) you need to pack all your life in few bags and to go to another side of the planet to start everything from zero! I will not describe you how is it to start to arrange your life from having a spoon to having new friends, but when finally, you are stable it’s times to leave and to start again. And this way never finishes, it is a circle which you can break just after you finally get the job back home. Our circle took us around 9 years in which we moved and started our life from zero 5 times, 3 times from these we moved with kids. Talking about KIDS!

Can you imagine to relocate with kids?! It won’t be the same anymore, now the mission is almost impossible! Do you know how hard to see your kids crying because they are leaving their friends, schools, attachments... their homes as for them it’s the country where they spend most of their small lives. And just they started to adopt for a new “motherland “, parents need to move for next stop of the circle. 

I am not describing you all that has happened to us, it’s just an outline of the picture. But try to feel HOW is it for all those years to not be able to work as you are on the resident permit of your husband, you are allowed just to live in this country and to forget about your career goals! HOW is it to be alone in the new country without any support? HOW to be sick when your husband is flying and you have small kids in your arms and there is nobody to help you?!

HOW to find power and motivation to move in another country again and again and again?! And now when our dreams came true and that we finally came back home (Mauritius), when we are first time feeling safe, when we have equal rights with other citizen, when we finally can work and contribute in development of our country ... we are in danger to start our nomad life again! You can see that my letter is written not by plan and doesn’t have any structure, it’s just my feelings and thoughts, it’s my wish to explain why Mauritian pilots should not be fired and why pilot’s salary can’t be miserable. 

Let me explain myself: I don’t want anybody to lose their job as for all these years I was expat wife as well, I perfectly know what is it, but in circumstances which we are facing nowadays because of global crisis I consider government needs to protect their citizens and to give them priority as our kids are future of this country! Now what includes pilot salary except money and benefits: 1. Our kids see their “pilot” parents often once per week, as he is flying and has layovers! Pilot wife needs to be strong enough to manage everything herself, including education of the kids. 2. We don’t know the word holiday, birthday, Christmas... we know words: I have a flight! Ask any pilot how many birthdays of his kids he wasn’t present, but easier to count how many he was. 3. My husband wasn’t with me in the most touchable and important time of the life: when our kids were born! And wives with longer family experience can continue this list of missing: delivery, first day at school, graduation, birthdays, anniversaries...etc. 4. Each “bye” I say and each kiss I give before he is going to work can be the last. This job was and will remain dangerous. And you as a wife and mother of his kids can’t forget it even for a second. You worry when there is a delay of the flight and no news from him, when it’s strong rain and it’s time for his plane to land, when you hear an aircraft has crash in another country and you cannot sleep nights praying that it never happen to him...

This is not begging and not the end of the pilot’s wife story, it’s just trying slightly to open the door to our real life. I don’t want to say that it’s just suffering and relocations. No, it’s possibilities to discover different countries, cultures, to have new friends, to enjoy the life. But be sure we pay for all of these by not seeing our parents, by raising kids far from their grandparents and their culture, by missing our country, by adapting our kids to the situation when papa is at home twice per week, by being strong! 

Yes, pilot wife needs to be strong! She can’t complain.... specially before flights. We need to be sure that our husbands are going to work with the right set of minds and have only one thing to care and this thing is your safety, dear passengers! 

P.S. Now we, pilots wife, strong as never because we need to protect and if it is needed to fight for our rights to raise our kids here, to live and to work in our country, to be not just witnesses of recovery of Air Mauritius, but to participate by being motivated and giving support of our husbands pilots!

 

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