Who are you?

A happy person made stronger by all the hardship I had to face in my life! I am Filipina, 37 years old. I come from a family of 5 children, 4 boys and me, the only girl. I completed my 3rd year in college (sociology). My father has a job and my mother a small grocery store. I have two children; a 14 years old girl and 8 years old boy and I am a single mother. My parents are taking care of my children since I am abroad.

 My husband and I have been separated for 9 years. I am 5 years older than he is. He was only 19 years old when we had our first son. I was the one who had a job and he took care of the children. I don’t know why he did not notice how hard I was working for our family and he started taking drugs and always going out with friends.

I loved him so much that I forgave him at the beginning but at some point, it was too much. We talked and we decided to break up. However, I could not accept that my children had a broken family and quickly I begged my husband to come back. But he was already with another woman at that time and preferred to hang out with his friends rather than staying with us. My parents helped me to cope with the pain and I forced myself to keep going for the sake of my children.

Why did you decide to become a migrant domestic worker?

I wanted to experience the life of a migrant domestic worker, the salary is really big compared with what you can get in my country. As a single mother I am alone to financially support my children.

How did your financial situation evolve over time?

I’ve been working in Hong Kong for more than 4 years. I was really lucky that my father paid for the agency fees, trainings, medical exams…So I was able to quickly send money to my parents and children.
I have very little savings because I am sending them everything, but I realize now that I should also start saving because working abroad will not last forever.

What do you like about your life as a domestic worker?

I became a better person, stronger and ready to face challenges.

What did you like or not like about your employers? Any advice to give to employers in general?

My first employers were so nice! I appreciated their warm welcome a lot when I arrived. I was really touched that they trusted me 100% even though they did not know me yet and it made me want to prove to them that I was indeed worthy of their trust.

They cared that I had enough to eat when they were out of town. Unfortunately, they had to relocate to China after one year.

I am sorry to say I don’t have the same relationship with my present employers.  I feel sad that they don’t seem to see me like a human being. It really breaks my heart that they don’t care about me.

When I finish my work late at night, it seems to me that they always choose this moment to rush to the toilet. Why can’t they go earlier when I am still working? I have to wait for them 30 minutes or more while I am already very tired and just want to go to bed.

I also don’t dare ask them to respect the law and give me a real 24-hour break on Sundays rather than having a curfew and working when I come back in the evening.

I would like employers to think about our working hours and make sure that we have enough rest time. I don’t mind finishing late at night some days but not every day.

What is your favourite activity on a day off?

Going out with friends and having fun at the beach.

Happiness is…

A feeling of contentment, that life is just as it should be.

What are you most proud of?

I am proud to be patient despite the problems and stress I have in my life and to do my job the best I can.

What are your dreams and hopes for the future?

Having my own business and being financially stable.

Interviewed in October 2017 and edited by Marie Kretz Di Meglio