”…the laborer lives merely to increase capital, and allowed to live only so far as the interest to the ruling class requires it.” – Marx
7 months in the UAE and I have come to terms with this: Homesickness is not the real enemy of Overseas Filipino Workers.
I’ve always heard that what breaks an OFW is missing home terribly. I think this is just the after-effect. The real adversary of OFWs in this part of the world is EXPLOITATION. Every day as I step out to work, exploitation greets me with undying intensity.
It is there when I wait for my bus and men stare at me like raw meat.
It is there when I am dictated to carry boxes and clean the floors when in fact I was hired to do communication work.
It is there when I answer ”Filipino” to someone asking my nationality.
It is there when the boss looks at me and sees a machine and not a person.
It is there when everything promised (the career path, the raise, the fair treatment) is far from happening.
It is there when I am expected to lower my IQ, stoop down and kiss the superior hands of the reigning elite.
It is there when I get home and see fellow workers cramped in small spaces and double-decked beds like tuna in a can.
They say that a man’s job does not define him. But for people like me who spend more hours working than sleeping, who wake up to go to work and come home to recharge just to go back to work again – my job and the place I work in define me.
The day to day exploitation of body, brain and will diminishes the self worth of even the most self-assured person. Every morning as I face my work, I seek for just a little dignity and respect yet every night as I go home, a feather is plucked off my wings. I fight only for self-preservation.
This is when I start to yearn for a place of reassurance and security. This is when I long for the thought of the familiar and the comfort of family. This is when I realize that no matter how my country disappoints me in so many ways, she still has the highest and most noble regard for human value.
7 months in the UAE and I have proven this: there is no place like home.
But I also rejoice in my suffering, because I know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character and character, hope. (Romans 5:3-4)