Sunday, July 27, 2008

Difficulty of Being a Filipino

I talked over the phone to my younger sister who is living in the Philippines last Friday. I learned from my father that she was not accepted by an agency that recruits Filipino nurses to Canada. According to her, she was scheduled to be interviewed Wednesday, July 23, 2008 at 3PM, but the agency changed it to 8 AM. However, they notified her through a text at 1 AM the day of the interview. She did not get the message until she woke up at 7AM. Could you imagine the stress? She was not accepted because, according to them, her experience is NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) not Med-Surg (Medical-Surgical Ward).

I was so mad after hearing what happened. I am mad that this agency played on desperation of Filipino nurses to get out of the country. I think notifying her late in the game is not fair and unrespectful. I don't think they can do this to any nurses in Canada or US. This situation made me think on how difficult, at times, to be a Filipino!

My father worked overseas for 24 years as a merchant marine. He did it because it was the only way to give his children a good education and better life. We practically grew up without a father. He came home about once a year for about 2 to 3 mos at a time . In a way, he was luckier than other Filipinos who are unable to return home that often. Most of them, especially those who were in the Middle East, never get to go home for years and years, leaving behind young children and spouses who need them. What will happened to those children? For me, it affected me not having my father growing up. My mother was overwhelmed raising 5 children and working as a teacher at the same time. We didn't get to know our father and this creates some tension in our relationship now.

I had a co-worker who spent some time in the Middle East as her husband works for the State Department. She met several Filipinos who were desperate of getting a job that they stood outside Westerner's houses or offices all day and begging to take care of their yard or chores. There was this particular Filipino woman who really stood out to her. The Filipino woman babysat for her twins. This woman told my co-worker her life story. She was in Israel for about 2 years and had not seen her young children and husband. She was or is staying illegally in Israel but she continues to stay there as she wants to provide better life for her kids. Israel, according to my co-worker, does not treat illegal immigrants well. My co-worker tried to assist her to get to the United States to be a caretaker of a quadriplegic teen-aged son of a friend but she was denied visa. Now, she doesn't know what happened to this Filipino woman.

It makes my heart aches hearing this kind of story! What can be done? I know the Philippine government does not really care on the psychological effect of migration and separation to families. Did they even do a study regarding this? Why Filipinos needing to get out of the country working those lowly jobs and taking care of other people's children when their own children are being neglected? Why most young Filipinos are wanting to get out of the country? Why do we need to live in a foreign land and suffer the feeling of being an outsider for the rest of our life?

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