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Gener

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Can OFW families be whole again?
« on: November 23, 2008, 04:48:13 PM »
Can OFW families be whole again?

By Cathy S. Babao-Guballa
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 05:47:00 11/23/2008

MANILA, Philippines - It was a simple message, but I was taken aback by the seeming insensitivity of it.
I had sent a birthday greeting to someone we had met earlier this year while my husband was based overseas—that six-month period in our lives when we lived separately from each other, a difficult but necessary choice we had to make at the time. The friend replied, “We are one friend down here, but I am glad that you are all back together—that’s how family is meant to be.”
Ouch. Something in his words dug deep into my heart.

I suppose I was hurt not only for myself but for the thousands of other OFW families who have a loved one working abroad. I think of my nephew and niece whose mother has been working as a nurse in Oxford for the last five years. I think of the countless children whose fathers or mothers toil overseas in order to give them a good future. My mind flashed back to that brief period earlier this year when I could see the loneliness in my children’s eyes whenever they would remember their dad. Did this friend even know the circumstances that led to my husband’s departure from that foreign country?

I guess my children were “luckier” than most because at least they got to see their father twice during that brief separation. Yes, I know that is “how families are meant to be”—together. But perhaps he should have been more sensitive to the circumstances that my family and countless other families had to make when we made the decision for my husband to work overseas.
I have rarely spoken of that period because it still stings. My husband left a pretty good job here on the premise and promise of a better one there. The people who sent him there were Filipinos, the headhunter there was a Filipina. Unfortunately, she was someone who looked out more for the interest of the client she was serving and not that of her kapwa Pilipino. Sad but true.
From the very start, when we made an initial visit and look-see, I had serious apprehensions. Something in my gut told me he should not take the job. At certain times, it felt like my husband was being treated like “cattle,” sold to be slaughtered. This was at the executive level, mind you.
In hindsight, we should have trusted that inner voice. It was too late when we learned the company had been blacklisted by other companies for its unfair practices.
When things began to fall apart, there was no one we could really turn to. There was no one we could really trust at that point. Only God and ourselves.
One time, while discussing our plight, I said to my husband, if this is happening to you, can you imagine what all the other OFWs must have gone through?

I thought of all those OFWs working under sub-human conditions with many of the stipulations in their contract that were not being followed. Or those who had to be deported because they were sent off with illegal papers.

Blessings

I ended up counting my blessings. Toward the end, we just wanted my husband back home. And when he returned after what I would describe a “harrowing” five months there, it was a real homecoming in the truest sense of the word.
Social psychologist and Miriam College president Patricia Licuanan says in her foreword in the book “Nawala ang Ilaw ng Tahanan,” a book on the OFW experience written by Dr. Honey Carandang—“We need to increase our awareness of the realities of the globalized world with its winners and losers, to support programs for OFWs and their families, and most important, to contribute actively toward building a society where all Filipinos can live with dignity and comfort here at home and not need to work abroad to give their families a decent life.” Yes, I agree with that ideal and that is something that we as a people all need to strive together and work for. But for now, such is not the reality and we are still very far from it.

The global crisis has now forced many OFWs to return home, and the reintegration into the family will certainly be an issue that needs to be addressed and supported by programs to help families heal and become whole again.
So, yes, we are glad that we are one family once more, but having gone through that experience, I cannot help but be sensitive about describing the way that families “ought to be.” When one parent is away, does that make them less of a family?
The ideal is there, but we have to understand there are reasons why sometimes a parent needs to be away for a while. The best that we can do, if we really want to help, is to be sensitive to their needs, and to provide support systems in schools, barangay and community centers for those who have been left behind.
After having said that, and actually having lived the reality, I can say with confidence that with love and support, the Filipino family is resilient, that is our greatest hope.

E-mail cathybabao@gmail.com


Dear Cathy,

KUDOS to your another ‘shot through the heart’ article.  I must agree and I share with your hurt upon hearing such simple but insensitive comments from your friend. Though, I think your friend don’t intend to hurt you nor any OFW for that matter, but I guess, it’s just that there are things people couldn’t understand unless they are in the same situation as most OFW does.

I remember one comment I read from a fellow alumnus. He said that our country could be a better place to live if only those talented OFWs prefer to stay than to toil abroad. I just hope that these people know where we are coming from so that they will know what made us, OFW sacrifice the thing of not being with our respective family.

While I must agree that there are insurmountable lost accorded to the families whose father has its role relegated to just a provider and an absentee father. But I’m sure that a family can still be considered whole despite the physical absence of either the father or the mother; as long as they knew that the physical absence is often compensated by this immeasurable love that’s within the family, come rain or shine. After all, what more can be better than a family whose member is missing but love is continuously felt through sacrifice, both parents and children alike than a family who can be physically complete but emotionally and spiritually disunited.

Gener Marcelo
Jubail City
KSA



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Re: Can OFW families be whole again?
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2008, 06:06:08 AM »
I do agree with you Gener, what a sacrifice an OFW has to do, just  to see to it that the material needs of the  siblings/family  are met! God bless us all and , especially the children who are missing a parent who is working abroad.

ps.
Hey at last, you´re nice good looking guy, Gener!

Gener

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Re: Can OFW families be whole again?
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2008, 01:09:26 PM »
salamat manay tess

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Re: Can OFW families be whole again?
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2008, 12:10:33 PM »
my salute to OFW's. you're my heroes....
Artificial Intelligence is nothing in comparison to Natural Stupidity.

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Re: Can OFW families be whole again?
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2012, 11:39:33 PM »
why not? God came to seek and save the lost.
Romans 10:9-10
"If you declare with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved."

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Re: Can OFW families be whole again?
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2012, 07:30:28 AM »
thankful that I am allowed to go home twice a year
a marriage can never be perfect.. but the love can be!

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Re: Can OFW families be whole again?
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2012, 07:40:00 AM »

How long is your vacation time, Anna?

jorgeanna

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Re: Can OFW families be whole again?
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2012, 07:43:54 AM »

summer vacation is around 70 days unya winter vacation is around 50 days and what's great is tat its a paid vacation and the airfare is free.. i always consider myself lucky, thanks to God and Allah!

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Re: Can OFW families be whole again?
« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2012, 07:45:32 AM »

Wow! That's a very NICE vacation, Anna! Paid pod! ;D

Kuyaw pod diay ning mga inchik eh? Very generous pod ilang package. :D



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