We said this several times and we’ll say it again – OFW life is not easy. Yes, earning money is easier, but this means you will be thousands of miles away from your family, staying in a country you’re not familiar with, learning a new language for the first time, and embracing a new culture. Plus, there is always a risk of abuse or getting an unreasonable employer that could make “running away” impossible.
Of course, your family back home are not aware of the sacrifices you make. As much as possible, you try to sugarcoat your situation and make it seem that you’re doing fine when in fact, you are eating twice a day and scrimp on almost everything so you could send them more money.
That being said, here are some of the things OFWs wish their families know about their lives abroad:
It’s a Lonely Life
Yes, OFWs are in a foreign land and see places they once saw on pictures and postcards. Yes, they earn in dollars, which is way more than what they earn in the Philippines. Amidst all these, it’s usually a lonely life for OFWs.
For starters, being in a foreign land means they don’t know anyone. They have to get used to being invisible since finding a “friend” they could count on all the time. Second, even if there is a strong Filipino community, they don’t get to see them as much as they can, except on scheduled day offs. Most Filipinos they’ll bump into are rushing on their way to their job number two (or three).
This is why it is important to maintain constant communication with their loved ones back home. Somehow, it eases the feeling of homesickness and loneliness.
It’s Not All Glitter and Gold
Sure, you receive tons of balikbayan boxes as often as you can. Apparently, what you don’t know is the sacrifices OFWs need to make just to fill those boxes.
OFW life is not a glamorous life, unless they’re really lucky with their employer. There are many who are abused and treated inhumanely by their employers. There are many who are considered as professionals and board passers in the Philippines but work as factory workers or household service workers overseas. OFWs won’t tell you that they ate once or twice a day or that they have to endure the heat at night so they could save on electricity. You won’t hear them complaining that much because what matters to them is to provide for the family.
Money Doesn’t Grow in Trees
The advantage of working overseas is earning in dollars or any other currency. With how the peso is doing, it’s safe to say that OFWs are earning big and earning more.
Still, this money is a product of their hard work. This money is a result of two or more jobs they have to take to ensure that you get to pay the bills on time, kids go to school, and make everyone happy.
That being said, avoid asking them to spend on unnecessary things. Don’t force OFWs to sponsor your every baptism, birthday, and whatever celebration in the family. There are more important things OFWs have to worry about and they’ll do that by making the most out of their stay there, which leads you to this next concern.
They Don’t Prioritize Themselves
Every OFW you will meet have different reasons why they want to work overseas. Still, the most common answer is they’re doing it for their family. This is why when it comes to their Priority List, their own selves are on the last.
Most OFWs will do whatever it takes to earn more money that they could send back home – even if it means sacrificing their selves. This includes still coming to work despite being sick or take multiple jobs even if their body could no longer handle it.
There’s No Place Like Home
There are countries that are way better than the Philippines in terms of government services, roads, and overall way of living. Still, OFWs would forget about that in exchange of being back home. Like what many always say, iba parin sa Pilipinas.
What’s the bottom line? Recognize the efforts of OFW family members and be more reasonable. They’re doing their part in ensuring your family’s future. Do your part as well.