Thursday, February 23

OFWs Are People, Not ATM Machines

After being an OFW for x amount of years, I think I already have the authority to say that life abroad is bittersweet. While, everyone back home thinks you just grow money on trees, that is not true. 

Every centavo or peso sent has a story. A day when you had to skip lunch because your boss is panicking that he needs the report yesterday but told you about it, 15 minutes ago. Another scenario, staying in the office late because your officemate got sick and you are trying your best to understand what needs to be done because there's a meeting tomorrow. 

There are probably a few more stories about that hard-earned money that your relatives have but decided not to tell you. I repeat, money do not grow on trees. I wish they do but no they don't. 

Why am I writing about this? Because I saw a post from a Canadian nurse who got lambasted by her brother for not sending them money to buy a car. Why is it the OFW's problem? 

I can't believe this family!
To be quite honest, special favors or requests to purchase this or that is the norm in our country. I am not sure if it's the same in other parts of the world. It won't matter if the giver "willingly gives" the items or financial assistance. However, it should not be abused. 

I remember when we were still living in the desert, I would get requests from my family. I give in because I know I can. At times, I do put my foot down and tell them, it's not possible. My family understands and I am happy they do. 

However, I think the mindset of being "well-off" will always be there when you work abroad. Probably, there is some truth to that. I remember having the ability to buy what I want but it's because of my plastic (i.e. credit card). Meanwhile, some are really industrious and would get more than one job to buy what they want and at the same time, provide for their families. 

Before we decided to go home for good, I brought my mom and sister to Dubai. They were happy about it but they also learned about the different stories behind every dirham earned by my friends, of sales assistants and more. 

They discovered Dubai
My mom appreciated all the remittances I made after that visit (LOL). 

So, please before you ask some money to be sent, please do take the time to ask your OFW parent or relative about their day or anything that can make them feel that you are not only after their remittance (yes, some do feel that is the only reason their relatives contact them. yes, a once a month call). 

I hope the nurse's post will be a wake-up call to my fellow OFWs. Learn to say no. It's okay to do so.