OFW – Overseas Filipino Worker. Everybody dreamt of giving their family a good and decent life that is why most Filipinos dream big by sacrificing their own interests and worked in other countries and I am not an exception. November 14, 2008, a call from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia made that dream into a reality.
I was sitting at my office and reading a news about the sultan of Brunei. An officemate was with me and I shared my thought to her and said, how can I become a secretary of a Princess? Hhhmmmm how I wish, but that’s just a dream. I don’t have anybody from Brunei who works in the palace and maybe the Princesses are very strict and are very choosy. But I want to experience working in the palace.
An opportunity came for me to work in Qatar for Shell as Senior secretary but too many untoward incidents happened and that did not materialized. I was so mad at God and questioned Him until I was back to myself and realized it’s not the end of the world. Oh well, I furthered my studies and took up Special Education because my friends encouraged me as this was a good stepping stone to work in other countries specially the US, they said so. It was when I had the sign langauge class that I had the passion to master the craft – sign language.
Months passed by and I just drowned myself with work, further studies and as a volunteer teacher at Hands and Voices Philippines, a free sign language and braille classes.
One night, I was so drowsy because of bad sinusitis, the phone rang at around 12 am of November 14, 2008. I did not get up to answer the phone but my brother did. It was a call for me. Gosh, these credit card agents are sooooo rude that even during at the weee hours of the night will call to offer their services or wait, do I have an unpaid bill with them? Hot flushes of blood rushed to my brain and that’s what came into my mind – an overdue payment? oh – oh. But I was so wrong. That phone call was made by a Princess in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia that changed my life. It was certainly a gift from God. God answers prayers in His own time.
Being an OFW is not easy. You have to deal and fight with homesickness, emotinal and physical stress, think about the family you left back home and all the worries in the world not to mention the culture shock specially if you are in a muslim country and not used to some restrictions of their culture. One may be so lucky with her/his work and employer and one may be unfortunate that at times their dreams are doomed and even lost their lives because of the greener pasture goal. When you are an OFW, it is when you will understand the dilemma, emotional stress and why some kababayans made some decisions in life that in the eyes of the people has to be condemned.
Some kababayans are so into “kapit sa patalim” because of so many reasons only they know. This is what I can only say, we are not in the position of pointing fingers at our kababayans and condemn them because we don’t know what “hell” they have been through. Others may do such “unbecoming things” for their personal interests but most kababayans worked abroad and sacrifice themselves for the welfare and good of their families back home.
Let me borrow this line which I found on Facebook ” OFW lang po ako, magtipid naman kayo dyan, di ako banko”. Does this ring a bell?