Cornell, Shirley, Zakiya Ayo, Ayisha Uri and Jamila Oni
Anyone who once lived in Saudi Arabia while working for Aramco remembers the exceptional health care benefits the company provided. Those services reflected in the best possible way the company’s deep concern for the welfare of its people. Shirley Seymour, Badge Number 98897, is the living embodiment of that ideal.
For thirty-two years, beginning in 1980, Shirley served as a Senior Staff Nurse at the Abqaiq Health Center while she and her husband, Cornell, raised their four children—Jamila Oni-Zahra Seymour, Zakiya Ayo-Zahra Seymour, Ayisha Uri-Zahra Seymour, and Christopher Travis Seymour. Now retired and living in Mableton, Georgia, a northwest suburb of Atlanta, Shirley and Cornell boast two grandchildren, Kayin Cornell Dakhari, age ten, and Olivia Seymour, age one.
Shirley recalled her family’s years in the Kingdom in a recent email exchange with AXP:
AXP: What attracted you to working for Saudi Aramco and living in Saudi Arabia?
Seymour: My husband and then two daughters, Oni and Ayo, came to Abqaiq in 1980 intending to stay for two to five years. However, we truly fell in love with The Friendly City and stayed in Abqaiq for the next thirty-two years. Living in Saudi Arabia not only introduced me to a beautiful culture but it gave me the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people from many different cultures as I lived and worked in our community.
AXP: What is one of your favorite memories of Saudi Arabia?
Seymour: My favorite memory would be the times I spent working in Abqaiq Health Center because I truly loved meeting the healthcare needs of the women and children. My specialty in nursing is women’s and children’s health care. I also remember the lasting bonds of friendship I developed with so many people.
AXP: What are some of your favorite hobbies now?
Seymour: I love reading, photography, and travel.
AXP: Are you planning on attending any of the upcoming 2018 Aramco reunions? If so, why do you like the reunions?
Seymour: My daughter Zakiya Ayo and I attended the 2015 KSA Reunion and we were so happy to return to a place where we had created so many memories. We saw friends who were still living there as well as friends who had returned for the reunion. We also got a chance to travel again to familiar places while attending the reunion and I felt that we had truly gotten a royal welcome back home.
AXP: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Seymour: I believe that I have given my children a valuable worldview by introducing them to many different cultures. They still maintain friendships that they established while living in Abqaiq. Yes, I still smile when I talk about the years I spent living in Saudi Arabia and often share my love of the culture with anyone who asks or is interested in hearing about my experiences while I lived there.