VULNERABILITY

By: Maria Allen Cellan

I often used to feel envious whenever my friends working abroad shared their photos on social media: they were always smiling from ear to ear, roaming around with their new-found friends, exploring a city where everything was new. Seeing those photos, reading and hearing their stories and being at the receiving end – I just knew that life outside my country was so much better. But when I found myself in their shoes, I realized that being a domestic worker isn’t necessarily always better and it simply isn’t for everyone.

Working abroad as a Filipina domestic worker is a tough experience. Being away from our family and friends is hard to cope with. The homesickness that strikes us every night and the silent crying are just a few of our struggles, not to mention the challenges of how to survive living in another country. We need to learn their culture and language. We need to adapt ourselves to a new environment with no families and no friends. Being away from them is the hardest part. The thought that the grass is always greener on the other side is gone now that I have seen for myself what the real life of a domestic worker is. Some of us don’t have a regular day off, no friends, no proper food, no phones and no proper bedroom. And all of this leads us to vulnerability.

What does vulnerability mean? In this context, it can be defined as the weakened susceptibility of an individual to evaluate, cope with, resist and recover from the impact of a man-made jeopardy. Vulnerability is most associated with poverty, people who are isolated, insecure and defenseless in the face of risk and stress.

Domestic workers are susceptible to vulnerability. The innocence of our hearts makes us vulnerable when dealing with society and with our employers. Lack of education, lack of knowledge, cultural beliefs and even lack of socialization are some of the factors of being vulnerable to what some call a harsh society. Being a domestic worker is not easy. We are being discriminated against because of our race; low income and other factors can make us more vulnerable. We tend to accept the reality that we are one of those minorities. Some treat us as a weaker group that does not belong in a class society. We are the poor amongst the poorest.

We try to forget our feelings of isolation by getting involved in activities like sports, religious or cultural events to distract ourselves from being different from others, but we end up being discriminated against by harsh people. Photos of our events are posted in social media like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc., but what do we get? Negative bashing from society. If only this society would understand the feeling of being vulnerable in a foreign country, maybe they would treat domestic workers in a fair way. If only they could wear our shoes and walk our steps, maybe they would have compassion for us. We are not asking for more, we don’t even like to be petty; we just want to be treated fairly and not be treated unjustly, like slaves. We wish that society would see us as vulnerable human beings, and not just as domestic workers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VULNERABILITY

By: Maria Allen Cellan

 

 

I often used to feel envious whenever my friends working abroad shared their photos on social media: they were always smiling from ear to ear, roaming around with their new-found friends, exploring a city where everything was new. Seeing those photos, reading and hearing their stories and being at the receiving end – I just knew that life outside my country was so much better. But when I found myself in their shoes, I realized that being a domestic worker isn’t necessarily always better and it simply isn’t for everyone.

 

Working abroad as a Filipina domestic worker is a tough experience. Being away from our family and friends is hard to cope with. The homesickness that strikes us every night and the silent crying are just a few of our struggles, not to mention the challenges of how to survive living in another country. We need to learn their culture and language. We need to adapt ourselves to a new environment with no families and no friends. Being away from them is the hardest part. The thought that the grass is always greener on the other side is gone now that I have seen for myself what the real life of a domestic worker is. Some of us don’t have a regular day off, no friends, no proper food, no phones and no proper bedroom. And all of this leads us to vulnerability.

 

What does vulnerability mean? In this context, it can be defined as the weakened susceptibility of an individual to evaluate, cope with, resist and recover from the impact of a man-made jeopardy. Vulnerability is most associated with poverty, people who are isolated, insecure and defenseless in the face of risk and stress.

 

Domestic workers are susceptible to vulnerability. The innocence of our hearts makes us vulnerable when dealing with society and with our employers. Lack of education, lack of knowledge, cultural beliefs and even lack of socialization are some of the factors of being vulnerable to what some call a harsh society. Being a domestic worker is not easy. We are being discriminated against because of our race; low income and other factors can make us more vulnerable. We tend to accept the reality that we are one of those minorities. Some treat us as a weaker group that does not belong in a class society. We are the poor amongst the poorest.

 

We try to forget our feelings of isolation by getting involved in activities like sports, religious or cultural events to distract ourselves from being different from others, but we end up being discriminated against by harsh people. Photos of our events are posted in social media like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc., but what do we get? Negative bashing from society. If only this society would understand the feeling of being vulnerable in a foreign country, maybe they would treat domestic workers in a fair way. If only they could wear our shoes and walk our steps, maybe they would have compassion for us. We are not asking for more, we don’t even like to be petty; we just want to be treated fairly and not be treated unjustly, like slaves. We wish that society would see us as vulnerable human beings, and not just as domestic workers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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