Narrative Essay Writing Workshop
"On the 6th of December 2020, I was fortunate enough to participate in the narrative writing workshop organized by HKU. Although the workshop was conducted over Zoom it was a truly eye opening experience for me. This workshop gave domestic helpers a platform to express themselves and tell their stories through writing. The participants were asked to create a timeline for their life with two moments from childhood, teenage years, working life and one memory from the present. I was pleasantly surprised with the honesty that was shown by the participants throughout the entire workshop and the stories not only moved me but gave me a unique insight into the life and hardships of a domestic helper which I believe needs to be voiced more than it currently is. I was honored to be a part of this workshop and considered myself lucky that the participants were willing to share their life stories. Although a few tears were shed, it was a powerful workshop and is one I will not forget. This workshop is a step in the right direction, hearing the experiences of the domestic helper community was compelling and passionate. I believe more news companies should publish these stories because more people need to hear the meaningful writing in an attempt to understand more about the daily life of a domestic helper."
Suvir Sujanani, Volunteer
Firstborn Happy Memories
I stop at my university being unable to manage my tuition fee and other financial matters.
My father is having his first child to his second wife and sacrifice my studies as we have no enough money.
Our way of living back then is very hard compared to others.
I started a small business, selling some delicate foods in our village to earn some money to continue my studies.
Even how hard I tried, I can't continue going to school anymore.
Having a baby is every woman's wish to have.
Though I wish to have one but not at an early age, without finishing my studies.
Then I ended up marrying my husband and have a family on my own.
I focused on the family I am starting to build.
I was so excited to meet the little angel I am carrying inside of me.
I can feel a life living on mine, every moves inside me brings happiness.
I have no idea whether he or she that I was carrying in my womb.
Nine months of waiting, I am going to meet my firstborn baby.
I was so excited to hold him/her on my arms.
I prefer to have a normal delivery in our home with our midwife to avoid big expenses from hospitals.
To my surprise, I had a very hard time pushing and my baby's one foot first came out.
They need to bring me to the nearest hospital for about an hour to reach.
I clearly hear the doctor saying they need to bring me to another hospital for a cesarian section for having a Breech delivery.
I was then alarmed, oh my God! We have no money to pay for the bills.
My godmother who's a midwife assists me whispers me to push harder.
I gave my best to push harder and harder and harder even more.
Finally, another foot came out and after a while, I heard them say "it's a Baby girl!"
The room was so quiet, I can't hear any baby crying, I was then panic, asking, Where's my baby? Where is my baby?
Everyone was busy taking care of my little girl.
I was then so afraid that I will lose her so soon after coming out to the world.
I feel like I was dying, I feel like my world stop by then.
I close my eyes and keep praying God please save my little angel.
Everyone cheered and finally I heard my baby's first cry.
Thank God! for hearing my prayers.
The doctor let me hold my firstborn child, my precious little girl for heaven.
I can't explain how really I feel by then, the scariest moment thinking I will lose my little angel so soon.
My heart was so happy while looking at her for the very first time.
The angel I carried for 9 months, finally I am holding her in my own arms.
The happiest moment in my twentieth existence in the world.
To have and hold my very own firstborn child.
And Angel sent from Heaven above to be loved and cherished.
As long as I lived and before God will take my life back.
I love you my BEBEgerl
Jonielle Reichelle Weisz Salvador-Ramos
September 29, 2020
God is Bigger than Covid
I asked her the same question 6 months ago
"Are you really going home for good after your contract?"
She said "yes" with a determination in her eyes.
I guess her family would be very happy to meet her at the airport
Or the whole family would be there waiting for her. (Most Filipino family)
But today the feeling of excitement
Changed into worries,
Her flight last march was cancelled so she need to rebook,
And finally just days waiting for her flight schedule, she will be home, but what's waiting for her? A lot of questions on her mind, will they let me get through airport? Will my hometown let me go in? As there were reports of fellow ofw's who were banned from entering into their baranggay. Will her family accept her in? She is willing to do the 14 day quarantine not because its a must but she worries for her family's safety.
You see this Virus affect not only physical health , but it made people paranoid too
But there is one thing that never changed , her Faith.
God bless you girl.
Your next journey will be safe
I’m claiming it in Jesus name
My Little Sacrifice
March 2001 one Saturday afternoon I was seated next our window facing outside with corn field as my view. I saw the corns standing happily next to each other in a straight row. Sway their leaves as the wind blew, it caught my attention for a little while. Until I noticed someone picked up some string beans in our little vegetable garden in front of the cornfield. His name is Diso my dad. He was already sick that time and it was the only thing he did was able to do after he got sick. I saw him getting weaker everyday and in that very moment I knew I had to do something and came up my mind and decided to go not to enrolled for the next school year which was fourth year High School. And had to look for a job to get money to help my dad.
I wasn’t able to finish my next year in High School not until 6 years later but I am still grateful enough that I had learned to sacrifice my own future for the sake of my loved ones and help my dad in my little own ways and that I can be proud of to tell my son soon.
My Story of Self-Worth
I was looking at my passport and plane ticket bound to Singapore, it was 12:30 in the morning on the 9th of July 2015.
I looked so composed but deep within me were barrage of mixed emotions. There was excitement, there was fear and there was doubt but the most dominant feeling that time was extreme sadness. It was my first time to go abroad, to be called an overseas filipino worker, bagong bayani as they said.
Ah finally, I thought I will have the chance to give a better life for my family. I closed my eyes and thank God a dozen times that day and asked His guidance. I asked God for strength. And while I was away, I asked God to look over my family, my loved ones especially my youngest who was just sixteen months old then.
When I was lining up for check-in, the lady behind, asked me, "Miss, are you also going to Singapore?" I answered with a smile, "Yes" then she asked again, "a tourist?" Then her eyes looked at my backpack which was the only bag I have at that time. I said, "No, I will work there" after I answered her, I gave her the notion that I don't want to talk anymore. I was too busy minding my emotions.
When we got on the plane, a few minutes before take off, I heard many people talking to their loved ones with their endless goodbyes. I had no more phone that time, I left it at the agency. We were not allowed to bring our mobile phones. I settled myself as the plane got ready for take off I looked out of the window, I silently whispered, "goodbye my beloved, see you again after two years." My vision became blurry, I gave in to my emotions.... finally.
After almost 4 hours of flight the plane landed to our destination, Singapore, the City of Lions. For me, it was the city for my dreams.
After a gruesome week at the agency, my employer finally picked me up. When I saw her, I smiled the sweeteest wishing she could read my mind which was saying that time "thank you for picking me up from hell".
When we reached her home, her three kids greeted me warmly. The eldest was a ten year old boy, the second a nine year old girl and the youngest was a seven year old boy. I've seen them in the video interview at my agency in the Philippines before. Because of the warm welcome, I was very hopeful that things will be alright.
Leslie, the Filipina who was about to finish her contract and soon to leave was friendly enough. The next morning, she lend me her phone and let me talk to my husband. When I heard the familiar voice after two weeks being away from them, I burst into tears. I told him how my stay with the agency went and everything that had happened. But I told him, that I was ok, even though I knew I was not. I tried to sound so strong so he won't feel worried about me. I asked him about our kids and I told him how I missed them so much already. I was crying even after our conversation.
With no phone on hand, I took out my notebook from my agency. I made that my diary. Every night, I would write how my day went. Every night, I would cry while writing. My diary became my confidante from then on I decided to trust no one.
My employer got hold of all my important documents, my passport and my work permit. I had no holidays too. It was a nightmare. I was only thankful when my employer finally allowed me to have my phone after two months when I talked to her about how I miss my children. Homesickness was really killing me.
Fast forward, It was November 2015 when I decided to break my contract. Why? Aside from the tiring sixteen hours of work, I was also verbally abused by my employer's husband. Being raised from a home where respect is very important, I decided to stay away from people who would put me down and take away my self respect. I cannot fathom a total stanger to talk to me in such demeaning manner.
Yes, I chose self-worth rather than money, I chose self-worth rather my dreams for my family. I chose self-worth because I love myself and I believe that loving yourself first will bring you to happiness.
Much love and God bless! 💗
Original post, and for more of her blogs: https://www.pangyao.hk/blog/5f219c059132b200176eada2
Maria Nemy Lou
Participatory Video Workshop
"I was quite overwhelmed by the atmosphere in the workshop, it was warm, very inviting and everybody were encouraged to share their ideas. I could also sense the bonding between the participants and three of you, Vivian, Julie and Merina are strong, from the conversation you had in the workshop, I realised that, for some participants, this was not their first time to learn making videos or joining the workshop, and Nadeenshani also expressed her feelings that she wanted to meet you all in the workshop again to make videos together. Great to see the long-term relationship the participants and you have built. That makes it even more memorable and meaningful.
And the videos made by the participants are so diverse in terms of the stories that they told. They were so generous to share their day-to-day life with us that in the videos we could easily sense their emotions, which are very intimate. I like all the videos, because each of the video is so uniquely representing their ideas, thoughts and emotions that they encounter in everyday life, and the technology also makes things a lot easier, anybody can just to take out her/his smartphone and shoot... it would be great if these videos can be exhibited/ screened to the general public, especially the locals, it would be very meaningful to let more people to watch these stories."
Jimmy Lo, Volunteer