Life is really unpredictable. They say the only constant in this world is ‘CHANGE’. Yesterday you’re on top, all of a sudden it will turn down and you will wake up one morning that you already lose the things you have. This is what anybody’s being afraid of.
This is what happened to a lady and a mother named Joh Bagundol Sese, from Midsalip, Zamboanga del Sur.
(a)She was living a comfortable life after she married into a family with a good export business in Hagonoy, Bulacan. She has her own sari-sari store and a poultry farm.
She even had household helpers. But after few years, their business suffered from terrible loss, financial problem which ended up in declaring bankruptcy. Living their life with so many debts, that she was being threatened with cases and imprisonment.
“Dalawa lang pagpipilian ko, mag-abroad para makabayad o makulong,” said Joh in a letter to KAMI
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It comes to the point that even her cousin posted her on social media, shaming her about her debts to them.
(a)”Pinsan ko nga pinapahiya ako. Pinopost ako sa FB, kesyo daw hindi ko siya nabayaran. Pero hindi naman talaga siya kasosyo ko noon, yung live-in niya nag-supply sakin ng bigas,” explained Joh.
Despite the shame, Joh chose to stay silent. “Kahit anong panlalait nila sa’kin nanahimik ako alang-alang sa pamilya ko,” said Joh.She took her shame and transformed it into hard work.
(a)She decided to apply for a job as a domestic worker abroad. She wanted to go to Singapore, but after three months of trying, she couldn’t get any job. Her neighbor suggested she try applying through her agency for Saudi Arabia. She doubted bit at first because of the stories she heard about OFWs being maltreated in the Middle East. But she doesn’t have any other options, Joh turned over her passport to the agency as collateral. In just two weeks, the agency finally found her an employer in Saudi.
It was her first time going to a foreign country. She didn’t know their language. The only thing that gave her strength is the hope that she’ll earn enough money to get her family out of debt and bring back the life they used to have.
(a)”Baon ko pangarap na maiahon sa hirap buhay namin. Ayaw ko matigil sa pag-aaral anak ko. Hindi man ako nagtapos, anak ko man lang makatapos,” said Joh.
Her eldest daughter is in college, while her youngest is in high school. They were her inspiration as she doesn’t want her kids to stop on their schooling. Just like other OFW, she doesn’t want to stay longer and fortunately, in two years, she was able to pay most of her debts. (a)
Without her husband who was very supportive, her partner in life handled her salary very well. They have their sari-sari store again.
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But life is still not easy. She still has a lot of debts to pay off. “Inuna ko muna store para yung kikitain diyan, pambaon ng 2 anak ko, pambayad sa bills tsaka food nila.”
(a)“Pero marami din naman ang nabayaran,” said Joh. She was able to have a quick vacation in Bulacan in October 2017, Joh shared that she couldn’t get out the house because she still owes a lot of people money. “Nahihiya ako magpakita sa lugar namin. Nasa loob ng bahay lang ako,” said Joh.
After a month, she went back to Saudi to continue earning money to pay off her debts. “Kung hindi ako namasukan katulong dito sa Saudi, makapag-aral kaya anak ko? Hindi ko maibigay buhay na meron sila ngayon,” said Joh.
She continued on what she was doing and now that her life is slowly getting on track, Joh has this advice for her fellow OFWs. “Hindi tayo habang buhay dito sa abroad, kaya now pa lang, isipin niyo na kung saan ilalagay pinaghirapan niyo.”
(a)”Mahirap uuwi ka wala pang one-month nagmamadali ka na bumalik, ubos na pera mo,” said Joh.
Joh’s story may serve as an inspiration for those who had no other choice but to leave the country and work far from their family. Her life experience is what makes her believe more in herself and to her family. We hope that her story will reach to most of the people, who are suffering what she had experienced.
What can you about her? Share us your thoughts by simply leaving in the comment section below.
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