At first sight of her, you might think you are seeing the living
Mother Teresa, the Albanian nun who has become an inspiration for
many people for her charity work in India. Everybody in the
hospital where she works calls her Mommy Concha. Even the owners
of the hospital where she works, her coworkers, visitors and
patients call her the same. It's not because of her age or her
looks, but rather her chemistry with the people around her. She
treats everybody as her sons and daughters, including the owners.
A native of the island of Mindoro in the central Philippines,
Concha Paras, now 73, was a single mother of four who decided to
try her luck to work abroad 28 years ago to support her children.
At Bugshan Hospital in Jeddah, she started as a housekeeper and
after completing the probationary period of three months was
promoted to assistant nurse.
Despite her age, she is still working as a medical staff at the
hospital, which was just a few years old when she joined it. She
is still very much focused in her work: preparing schedules,
following up medical records and assisting patients and co-staff.
She is also adept at working with computers.
"My children are my inspiration. They are my priceless gift. They
are the source of my strength," says Paras, recalling the days
when she struggled to feed and clothe her young children.
"Even at my age now, I am inspired by them. Now I am happy to see
them as grown-up professionals with their own families," she
Mommy Concha herself is an inspiration to many of those who know
her. People of different nationalities, especially Saudis, are
known to make it a point to see her when they visit the hospital.
Ever the caring mother, she spends a lot of her time in the
hospital caring for people.
Among her huge fans is Abdul Ghaffar, a Pakistani.
"We never missed to pay a visit to Mommy Concha. My kids and my
wife knows her very well. Visiting her is like visiting your own
mother," he said.
Her exemplary behavior and loyalty to her work has gained the
respect of his employers. "When I was very young, I only knew
Mommy Concha. Even my children, they love Mommy Concha. The whole
family calls her Mama. She is treated as one of the family members
of Bugshan," said Ahmad Ali Bugshan, one of the owners of
In an interview, Ahmad Ali Bughsan said that while Paras has long
reached the age of retirement, they allow her to continue working
because it is her passion.
"Mama is No. 1," he said, adding that even if she does not come to
work and needs to stay at home, she continues to get salary,
housing allowance and other entitlements.
Paras, on the other hand, said she was just returning the kindness
the Bugshans had shown her and other workers. She said the family
is known for humbleness and love for others, regardless of
nationality, an observation shared by another expat, Abduljabbar
"All my children were born here. The Bugshan family assisted me in
times of need, especially when my children were born. They are a
family with good heart. That is one of the reasons I am with this
institution for 22 years," Tamanor said.
Paras says she has become used to the affection and attention of
her colleagues. "Even people I do not know, when they see me, they
approach me and kiss my hands and my forehead. That is probably
the reason they sometimes call me Mother Teresa," she said.
It's quite easy to mistake Paras, now a Muslim, for a nun.
Whenever she speaks, she always emphasizes the essence of the love
"I am always thankful to God and my employers that I was given a
chance to render service in this hospital. I reciprocate that with
my dedication and love to them," she added.