Chocolates, imported goodies, fully-loaded balikbayan boxes, more money, new house etc. These are the words that come to our minds when we hear about Overseas Filipino Worker ‘. Just because they live abroad, it doesn’t mean they live like kings and queens.
Little did we know, behind all these luxury things are countless Sleepless nights, prioritized overtime at work, less meal a day, walking instead of riding going to work, loneliness and sometimes even depression.
Sadly, Our OFWs need to go through all of these just to provide all the needs and wants of their families.
Here are other ‘realities’ about our dearest OFWs that we have to know and maybe next time we can think of something we can do in return for all their hardships.
1. OFWs are not all ‘millionaires’. Do not just ask money from them and get mad if they did not give you or lend you. Those are hard-earned money that they will not or should not ‘give away’ just like that.
A huge chunk of their hard-earned money goes straight to their families in the Philippines, which is the reason why they went to work abroad in the first place.
2. They make unbelievable sacrifices to buy all the pasalubong you ask for. Tons of sacrifices to fill up their balikbayan boxes for you.
Doesn’t matter if they don’t have decent shoes, just as long as they can buy you that Adidas or Nike you’ve been asking them to buy for so long.
3. Not everyone has a better life abroad. eggs and noodles are some of their ‘favorite’ foods. worst? just rice.
Their staple for dinner can be instant noodles, eggs, or bread.
4. They so much missing ‘adobo’ ‘sinigang’ ‘tuyo’ and other Filipino dishes a lot.
One of the first things they look for upon arrival at home? Filipino stores and restaurants.
5. The much-awaited balikbayan box from them? It takes tons of tears and blood just to fill it with all your request. So be a little more patient.
It takes OFWs months to fill an entire balikbayan box because sending out a half-full one would be such a waste of money and effort. Be patient.
6. They definitely miss the ‘teleseryes’ back home that they consider as their stress reliever. And sometimes can be a struggle.
They have to wait for it to be available online or to be released in whatever country they’re in. Entertainment is always late.
7. “Bawal magkasakit, bawal umabsent!” Aside from the deduction from their salaries if they will not go to work because of health reasons, no one would take care of them.
And also, sayang ‘yung suswelduhin.
8. Some might have ‘rakets’ or extra works aside from the jobs they signed for. They do these obviously to have more money which can be used for your tuition or allowance.
They usually do this after duty or during day offs.
9. They normally do overtime at work for some overtime pay.
Can you imagine your loved one working like there’s no tomorrow?
10. And of course when they need to do some chores when they got home.
On top of being tired from a 12-hour shift, they’d still have to do laundry and cook dinner.
11. They totally missed all the family gatherings.
While we are happily celebrating special occasions, there they are, waiting for the pictures you will post, imagining themselves present on that day.
12. Like they’ve missed seeing their children or little siblings grow up.
So much love and hopes while they are away from us.
13. Holidays are not happy days for them. These are the most depressing days actually.
Instead of watching fireworks or Christmas lights during the holidays, they’re watching their family celebrate on Skype.
14. Days-off are not spent in malls, they will take it as an opportunity to sleep longer.
They need more sleep to have more energy for another day.
15. Self-pity is their worst enemy. Especially if they knew something’s wrong or something bad happened in with their family.
And especially if their family is going through a rough time in the Philippines, which adds more pressure to their already stressful life away from home.
16. They battle homesickness and separation anxiety really hard.
The greatest thing our beloved OFWs’ afraid of.
17. And there’s just no amount of phone and video calls that can cure it.
Filipinos have close family ties, after all.
18. It’s not like they wanted to leave their family behind, in the first place.
They just really, REALLY, need to do it so they can give their family a good life. If there’s one thing OFWs have mastered, it’s the art of sacrifice.
19. But in the end, nothing feels better than welcoming you back at home.
Do you have loved ones who work abroad? Or do you know someone who is Overseas Filipino Worker? Why don’t you call them and say how you appreciate them. Express your love every day, you didn’t know how much they needed it.
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