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By Ghie Ghie Mosquera
Harking back to those years when I was still in the Philippines and living with my family, those were the happiest days of my life.
Living a simple life with special people around me is all I ever dreamed of. But, there were days where I realised that something was lacking: we sometimes ran out of milk for our children; sometimes we had no money to buy things for the house; other times we didn’t have enough money to pay for the electricity bill. It made me realise that our life here on earth was never going to be perfect: there would always be things missing, and we would have to make sacrifices to acquire the things we need.
My husband and I decided for me to find a job overseas. We both thought that this was the only solution to our financial problems. So we looked for an agency to apply for jobs as a domestic helper. Luckily my relatives told me that there was a family here in Singapore that was looking for a helper, and they knew them well. I was so happy and excited in that moment, thinking I finally had found a job abroad.
I told my husband about it, but felt sad when I saw his face. I could see the sadness in his eyes. I knew our decision was against his heart, but he understood that we had no choice. He just hugged me and felt sorry that I was the one who would be supporting the family now, instead of him. I just told him: “Marriage is about helping each other,” and we both burst into tears. We just couldn’t help ourselves, we were so emotional at that time.
My papers were all processed and everything was settled. I was all good to go: my bag was packed — I just bought a few clothes with me — it was time to say goodbye to my loved ones. Seeing my kids as I waved them goodbye broke my heart; I felt that my life ended on that day. My husband couldn’t hide his tears, and my two kids were hugging me crying and asking where I was going. “Mama is going to buy lots of toys,” I told them and that helped them a bit. My youngest son was just 6 months old at that time; that was the most terrible moment I can ever imagine in my whole life: saying goodbye to the one you love is always the hardest thing to do.
My first week in Singapore was really hard. I stayed at my agent’s house. I was constantly homesick: day and night I couldn’t help but think about my family. Sometimes tears just rolled down my cheeks without me even noticing it. My breasts were still swollen, I needed to pump milk every night. It really hurt: I was crying in pain, but I could do nothing about it; I needed to be strong and face my new life with confidence, knowing that all my suffering was for my beloved family.
After a week in my agent’s house, I was sent to my new employers. Their house was a condo and I was told that I would be looking after their granny; other times, I would help look after their kids. I felt comfortable living with this family: they were kind and generous. I used to go with granny to church every Sunday and at night I shared a room with her. She was very kind and she treated me like her daughter. She gave me lots of things to send back to my family. The children loved me too. They also gave me presents on special occasions, and would buy me things when we went shopping.
As the days passed by, I got used to the new life I had here in Singapore. My homesickness began to lessen and I enjoyed my life instead. But I always kept in touch with my family.
After six years of working with them, I decided to look for a new employer with an expat status, as I realised that my salary was no longer enough to sustain the needs of my family. I needed a higher income. So I asked my employer and they were very understanding and gave me a release paper.
My sister-in-law recommended me to a couple with whom I signed a two-year contract. But before I started working with them I went back home to spend my two weeks with my family. That was just my fourth vacation back to the Philippines since I left for Singapore.
During the first month with my new employers, I could see how lucky and blessed I was: they were very kind and gentle and not so strict about the tidiness of the house. I looked after their 9-month old child. I felt really good working with them; I had lots of freedom and I enjoyed my life more than before. They also helped me to upgrade my skills by sending me to study a part-time diploma course in hotel management/office assistant. I was able to finish the course and I thank God: it really changed my life and helped me regain my self-esteem. That’s not all, they recently helped support me financially with building a new house back in the Philippines.
Truly, all hardship bears fruit in the end. I’m amazed at how God has helped me in my life. The sufferings and afflictions that we encounter are not signs that everything is over, they are signs that God has prepared something better for us and he was just giving us a choice on which path to take. There are no impossible dreams, there’s nothing that we can’t achieve. All things are possible to those who trust and believe.
TWC2 is an organization that is dedicated to assisting low-wage migrant workers when they are in difficulty. We are motivated by a sense of fairness and humanity, though our caseload often exceeds our