It was my first time to visit the building that represented my home country. A surge of pride rushed through me, upon walking through the gates. Wow, it looks sosyal!
But as soon as I opened the brown doors that led me inside, my dignity shrunk like a prune. It was like walking into a marketplace. How can I complain when an embassy is clearly defined as the ”presence” of a home country abroad. I guess we’re just following protocol.
My husband went to this same building 4 months ago to apply for a visa to the Philippines. He got a taste of our system. He had to go back twice because of lack of requirements that could have been easily advised and explained the first time he called for inquiry.
I imagine him standing in that never-ending line. I imagine him looking at all those signs, taped to the walls like a kindergarten classroom. I imagine him walking up the counter to a very stern-looking worker who just finished a loud argument with a frustrated cursing OFW.
”Your embassy is so dirty. Yucky!”
That’s what he reported of his experience. I didn’t talk to him for a day as I protested such strong statement. But after today, seeing it with my own eyes, I am embarrassed and humiliated.
I want to be proud of us. I really do. But where do I get my self-esteem when the institution handling my diplomatic issues and preserving my rights does not give me the glorious confidence and dignified backbone to walk in this Arab world with head held high.
I am shamed because I can see further than the physical dirt my husband pointed out. Our embassy is a reflection of our country and sadly, Filipinos in the UAE are becoming walking-photocopies of our embassy.
*photo taken from this site.