Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Angst of an OFW

A lot of articles were already written, printed, reprinted, told, and retold about stories of the life of being an OFW. These stories rarely end up in happily ever after. Even the beginning didn't start off as exciting as a fairy tale does. But this is the life, this is the reality of being an Overseas Filipino Worker.

Working abroad, as I bitterfly discovered is not for the faint hearted. Placing a thousand miles of distance between you and your loved ones is one herculean sacrifice in the hope of providing a better future for yourself, for your family and for your relatives.

Movies are filmed and stories are written about the life of every Filipino all over the world. Their life, their work and how they deal with the realities of actually being on their own.

I admit there are horror stories everywhere. Every country where Filipinos worked their butt off for a good amount of money has feed the media stream, but sometimes, it doesn't deliver the exact message.

I can only say my piece on the countries I have lived and worked at. I had a short stint in Singapore, but life there for the Filipinos is acceptable. They can earn even a low salary of SGD 1200 and still be able to send some money to their family and save enough for themselves.

In Abu Dhabi, I am lucky I am living a reasonable life. My husband and I can afford to rent a room on our own. Privacy in Abu Dhabi is quite expensive. And some people would rather not have any of those just to be able to save enough and fill that Balikbayan box before they get home. What's in a balikbayan box? It's basically ordinary grocery goods we find in every grocery store in the world. Every payday, this box is filled with whatever is on sale at the grocery store. Thinking not only of the immediate family who will be benefitting from it but also the neighbors who are undoubtedly be doing housecalls by the second day of your vacation.

Most Filipinos think that working abroad makes any OFW rich. And that they can afford any luxury and indulgences in the Philippines. LIttle do they know that, some would just skip eating meals to have enough savings. Or resort to bank loans to have enough money to feed the entire barangay when they get home. Some even go with taking boyfriends so somebody could sponsor their groceries. OFWs would do all sorts of unspeakable things just to provide for the family.

I hope the people back at home knows the horror that OFW's have to resort to in order to stay longer in a country of sand and sun.

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