Due to lack of job opportunities in the Philippines, I was easily persuaded by my amazing mother to come to Saudi Arabia and toil so that my husband and I would be able to start saving for our future. Unfortunately, my first few months in the Kingdom weren’t that pleasant. My mom and I had misunderstandings almost everyday. Disagreements occurred frequently. Hurtful words were said and cold-shoulder displayed. I almost gave up! However, during my time of solitude and meditation, it came to my senses that she has been away from home for how many years and we’ve never experienced being physically together this long. Having her around was new to me. I had always done things according to my own freewill, but with the physical guidance of my good father. On the other hand, I supposed that dealing with me was also unfamiliar to her. Why? I practically did not grow up before her very eyes. These reasons actually fostered me to take a chance to build a better relationship with my mother while we’re both here. After all, it might be one of the reasons why God has brought me in this part of the world – not merely for money!
I started off by grasping the true sense of the words “listen” and “understand.” It was only when I hearkened to my mom’s explanation and heeded her counsels that I began to comprehend her intention. She was just showing a motherly care that I’d been deprived for years. Since that realization, we’re able to develop not only a strong mother-daughter bond, but also a wonderful friendship that will remain here and beyond.
I’ve learned the struggles that she had to go through just to give us the kind of life that we are enjoying now. Also, I’ve witnessed her determination to become triumphant in life for the people she dearly loves. Seeing the wrinkled and veiny hands – a physical evidence of sacrifice and hard work for over a decade as an OFW – of this noble woman who has brought an enormous change to our family’s status in life truly pierces my heart. Those beautiful but sorrowful eyes that seem to express yearning for home, even behind that happy and contagious smile, are unmistakable and poignant. She used to be young and vigorous. She had labored industriously so that we would live life comfortably. Now that she’s old and weary, she still continues to work diligently –in this place called the K.S.A. – because she doesn’t want to become a burden to us in any way. This heartbreaking situation of hers has really brought me into tears. 😦
During one of our conversations; she asked me, “How about if I would just end my contract and go home for good?” When she indirectly conveyed her desire to retire and go back to the Philippines, my heart would like to scream because of happiness. It’s about time because she’s already in her 60’s.
The Overseas Filipino Workers are regarded as the modern heroes of our country, the Philippines. Indeed, my mom is a hero not only to my family, but also to our community and our country.
A Hero to Our Family: For every riyal that my mother puts aside to be sent home monthly, it is equal to shedding ocean of tears (for longing to see her family) and producing a bucket of sweats (for working hard like a slave)! I should know because I am an OFW myself. Earning a decent amount of money overseas is not like picking bucks from a GOLD-bearing tree. You have to combat not only nostalgia but also stress – from work and other environmental factors. I really admire her because she has survived in this foreign land with nothing but perseverance, resilience and faith that she could bring change to our family’s social standing. She is truly a woman of strength and valor! It really hurts me when she pities herself and thinks that she’s nobody and her effort and sacrifices are not appreciated! Mom, please know that we are grateful for everything that you have done just to give us a good life and do not forget that you are valued and loved! Indeed; you are our hero mom, because you did not allow homesickness and sufferings to defeat your dream to save us from poverty and bring a tremendous change to our family. I am proud that you are my mother!
A Hero to Our Community: Before my mother left the Philippines, she worked as a government employee – under the Agriculture Department – in our small municipality. She trained a considerable number of individuals, mostly in the remote areas, about provident living. Aside from serving in the community, she also generously shared her skills and talents to the members of our faith. That’s why, when she left the country to work overseas, there were some people who were asking me if where my mom was. They relayed to me how thankful they were to my mother for the service that she rendered and the lessons that she taught them. I know that she was like a hero to the community because through sharing her talents and skills, other people’s lives were touched and perhaps positively changed. With enthusiasm and open arms, it is my hope that they will welcome again this woman – who has proven her worth in bringing change to the society.
A Hero to Our Country: When the Overseas Filipino Workers send money to their families in the Philippines, they are actually killing two birds with one stone – save their families from financial struggle and help the country’s economy to be in a hopeful condition. Each remittance may appear small or insignificant but collectively, it plays a critical financial stabilizing tool for our country. Hence, each OFW – including my mother – is indeed a “modern hero!”It is my wish that they will be treated like one; regardless if they’re abroad or they’re home for pleasure or for good!
We cannot deny the fact that many of the citizens in our country have believed that the Philippines is doomed to failure. Sadly, this reason compelled “some” (especially OFW’s) to give up on patriotism. They mocked our beloved country; shrugged off anything related to their heritage; lost their desire to retire or spend their well-deserved vacation in the Philippines; and tossed away their pride of being a Filipino. If all of us, Filipinos, will despise our country, who else will love and give hope to Juan Dela Cruz? Who else will make the Philippines a promising place? The Americans? Japanese? Chinese? Arabs? Oh modern heroes, please let us not forsake our country!
At least one OFW – who has an aim to “see the change” that she has done and an aspiration to become an instrument to “make a difference” in the land – just returned home!
My mother is a hero indeed.