A Filipina domestic helper thanks her Saudi employers for helping her financially in the construction of her own house in Pulilan, Bulacan, and for the medication of her ailing daughter back home.
Mhai San Pedro, a 31-year-old overseas Filipino worker (OFW), told The Filipino Times that finding a foreign employer who treats her like a family is a blessing.
When she flew off to Saudi Arabia, she only wanted to build a house for her children but she received so much more. Despite being with her current employers for just eight months, she has always been treated with generosity and kindness.
She received hundreds of thousands worth of gifts from them. Many of the items include signature items like Burberry, Michael Kors, Tory Burch, and Gucci.
Her employers also support the medication of her youngest child and occasionally give her 1,500 to 2,500 Saudi riyals (PHP 21,000- 35,000) to aid in the construction of her home in the Philippines.
She also recalled an instance where her employers pulled her out of a difficult situation when her asthma-stricken child was brought to the hospital. “Lahat sila nagshare—mga kapatid ni madam, kapatid ni sir. ‘Di ko alam na gagawin nila yun. Nagulat lang ako nung inaabot na nila sakin ‘yung pera. Tulong daw nila sakin para sa anak ko. Napakasaya ko po noon,” the Filipina narrated.
For Mhai, her employers are a living proof that Arabs are good employers, and so she does her best to return them the favor.
Turn life around
Before Mhai decided to become an OFW, she and her husband earned a meager salary as factory workers in the Philippines. A mother of three, Mhai gave birth to her youngest child with a weak pulmonary system. The frequent medical examinations in the hospital burrowed them in debt.
“Di sapat ang kinikita namin. Nalubog ako sa utang. Alam mo yung sobrang down ka na, nilalait at pinagtatawanan pa nila yung kalagayan namin?” she recalled.
She swallowed her pride and asked for loans from everyone she knew if it meant the survival of her baby. Above everyone else, Mhai considered her family as her strength. Their difficult life back home encouraged her to pursue working abroad.
“Yung makakakita yung mga anak ko sa TV ng commercial na masasarap, natatakam sila. Sasabihin nila, ‘Mama, pag may pera tayo kakain tayo diyan ha?’” an emotional Mhai remembered.
Mhai told TFT how they survived on eating eggs every day, and how they lived in a makeshift home, having to use basins to catch rainwater dripping from the ceiling during storms.
It was difficult for her to leave her family because she had to leave her one-year-old but her desire to give her children a better shelter on rainy days outweighed her doubts. She decided to become an OFW.
From a shanty made with bamboo sticks, the construction of her dream house is underway.
“Bukod sa love at care, eh tinulungan talaga nila ako magpagawa ng bahay. Nagpapagawa na ko ng bahay na magiging komportable na tulog ng pamilya ko kahit umuulan. Bilog ang mundo, hindi habang buhay nasa ilalim tayo,” she said.