Pakistani player on Malta national cricket team hasn’t seen wife for months

For Michael Nazir, 41, who works at Casa San Paolo in Buġibba, his lockdown journey wasn’t an easy time without his wife Chanda by his side.

Practically newly-weds, having tied the knot last December in Pakistan, the couple has not been able to be together at all after the wedding. He is in Malta while his wife is in Pakistan.

Chanda was meant to fly to Malta on April 2 – having had both a visa and a work permit – to happily reunite with her husband, only to end up separated at the very last minute due to travel restrictions.

Michael has been working as a carer for the past four-and-a-half years.

“Having completed my studies in Pakistan, it was my dream to work with the elderly. When I left Pakistan, I got the job I’ve always wanted. I’m very happy here,” he says.

“Even though what I’m experiencing seems to be an impossible love story, everything is possible,” says an optimistic Michael, who plays on Malta’s national cricket team.

On his off-duty days, during the long lockdown, he very often joined members of the team virtually to train and keep in touch with them.

“Of course, I miss my wife and I want her to be by my side. I will do anything to bring her to Malta. I wouldn’t like to go back to Pakistan, as there are so many more opportunities here. Going back would be my last resort,” says the cricket player from Karachi.

Michael and Chanda spoke to each other every day during the lockdown, either by phone or on Skype. At the moment she is living with her family in Faisalabad, which is almost two hours by air from Karachi.

“Bringing my wife to Malta is the most important thing for me right now. We miss each other and want to be together,” Michael says.

Wife becomes family breadwinner as husband loses job during pandemic

Sylvia Briffa, who works as a carer at Roseville in Attard, spent her entire lockdown away from her husband and three children – Bjorn, 29, Dylan, 25, and Maria, 23.

After the first three weeks, she thought she would be able to join her family and help them out with moving house from Żebbuġ to Qrendi.

Meanwhile, after all sectors of the economy were put on hold as a result of the pandemic, Sylvia’s husband, Julian, a taxi driver, lost his job. So, in a bizarre, unexpected twist of events, Sylvia became the family’s breadwinner.

“I wasn’t sure what to do. I knew I had to take a decision. Finally, I decided to stay on,” she says.

“I thought about my husband and children all the time during the lockdown, but through phone calls and Skype I could see that everything was running smoothly. They packed all our belongings in boxes, sorted out everything and organised the move to perfection.”

Sylvia admits it wasn’t an easy time.

“It was tough, especially at the beginning. We moved into the elderly home very quickly, so I wondered what would happen. But after a while, I settled down nicely. As much as I needed the money, I love working with the elderly and felt it was my duty to protect them against the virus. Looking back, I feel proud to have been part of the team at Roseville.

“We gave the residents what they needed and offered them the best service. It was truly a great experience. It’s a bit like a camping trip with friends. We were on a mission as one family. I know that I will miss that time.”