Have you seen the TV show On the Wings of Love? It may be a love story between the main characters, Clark and Leah, but beneath that is a story and struggle of OFWs around the world. You would see that the characters work as much as they can only to fill those balikbayan boxes and provide the needs of their family back home, even if it means taking three jobs, skipping meals, and not getting enough rest and sleep.
This is common among Filipino migrant workers, yet their families back home are not aware of it. In fact, many of them don’t know that this is what’s going on while you’re overseas:
1. They get homesick – all the time.
Yes, they are earning in dollars and living in a foreign land, but most of the time, they get homesick. A day wouldn’t pass without them thinking of their loved ones left back home. They always count the number of days until their vacation in the Philippines and can’t wait to be back and be with their families once their contract end.
It’s difficult, but they use it as a motivation to strive and work harder. Thankfully, technology made it easier for them to see their family even if it is confined in a four sides of the computer.
2. It’s not always a bed of roses.
Unfortunately for OFWs, it’s not a good life. As much as they want to go shopping, eat the best-tasting food, and see the tourist spots in the country they are working at, they just can’t. Most of the time, they are tired from work and will send a big chunk of their salary back home since that’s the reason why they are abroad in the first place, right?
That’s not all. There are many instances when OFWs still report to work to avoid a decrease in their monthly salary. Yes, they could provide everything their families needs, but there is always a story and a lot of hard work behind it.
3. OFWs take more than one job – a day!
They applied for a specific job just to get that opportunity to work overseas. As soon as they get there, they promise to do their best at work. Sadly, life in the Philippines is not easy and the amount they are sending is not enough to sustain their family’s needs. As a result, they take a side job to help make ends meet. It’s a lot of sacrifice, but a sacrifice made for their families’ sake.
4. Nope, they don’t have millions.
The peso-dollar exchange rate may benefit them, but not all OFWs are millionaires. Most of their hard-earned money is dedicated to remittance with only a little left for themselves. Even if they are taking more than one job, sometimes, it’s just not enough, so they end up borrowing money from friends or even loan sharks.
5. Sometimes, they just want to give up.
Or most of the time, depending on the situation they are in.
OFW life is not easy. Despite the good life it could bring, there are many instances that will rock every Filipino migrant worker such as abusive employer, unreasonable pay and/or workload, a loved one in the hospital, and don’t even get started with homesickness. Still, they hold on to the fact they are doing this sacrifice for family’s sake and giving up is not an option.
What does this all mean? Don’t let the OFW family member carry the burden. Help as much as you can by alloting money for savings, budgeting the money sent, and consider investing to make your money grow.