Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Return to United Arab Emirates #OFW30

It was in the...

Year 1987 of December 27 - which my two-month vacation ended and I returned back to Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

All members of the family accompanied me to the airport for my departure. I had a mixed feeling when I stepped my right foot in the pavement of the departure area. I hugged them all tightly to fill my heart with love even though I wanted to stay for more, and this departure means leaving them again.

“Ayah, love, take good care of the three kids...and my love for you...don't worry for our lost son, I promised...trusts me with this and remember, you’re the only one inside of me...even though more challenges coming our ways...bye love, take good care of my love for you,” I whispered these words to her. My heart was broken when I entered into the lounge section of the airport where I sat down waiting for my scheduled flight. Those multitude forces that I felt were starting to crumbled like the ruins of the Roman Empire; the unexplainable feelings that even the ocean cannot fathom its depth for no reasons at all. Those times I had spent away from my family was like a lost soul wanting for greater love to endure sacrifices. The shroud that covered my strength to go on turned into a million fears which diffused in different directions. But, this is me, this is my OFW.

Even inside the plane I cannot straightened my thoughts of delivering something significant, it boiled down to my feeling of remoteness. All the images in my imagination were clustered into different forms and colors; a never-ending search of my identity as a human being, a father and a provider.

After nine long hours, I viewed Dubai from above as the jewels of the Gulf rearing to capture my soul again. It changed my life’s perspectives and really amazing to think these changes with such unknown answers deep inside of me. I started to recall people in Dubai in which I had spent my time with them.

I hired a taxi cab going to Satwa area where I stayed before my vacation leave. I slept inside the room of Ronnie where he carefully prepared for me. I took my overnight rest and when I woke up the next morning, he was having his breakfast in the table.

“Good morning sir Marco, how’s your vacation?” Ronnie asked me.

“Fine and good Ronnie...your father told me everything about not worry about what happened to us before, now I understand your situation and your father's too.”

“Have your breakfast sir, I cooked these for you.”

“Thank you Ronnie. How’s your store operation....and the management people?”

“There were some problems but minor only, I can manage sir.”

“Great of you...after our breakfast I’ll report to the main office in Sharjah for my new Al Ain.”

“Yes sir, that’s what I heard. How’s my brother Larry sir?”

“Yes, he graduated this year...planning to help your father for a new business…”

“Thank you sir for your kindness….”

“Your father told me to watch over behave, okay?”

“Yes sir I’ll do that.”

After our breakfast, I went straight to our main office to report which, as what I expected, I was assigned to Al Ain branch. I accepted my assignment, said goodbye to Ronnie and his staff. I telephoned Vivian Montoya and Ryan Mallari to say hello and told them that I was transferred to Al Ain.

It was in the...

Year 1988 of January 7 – When I transferred to Al Ain, United Arab Emirates as my new job assignment.

I traveled for almost five hours by taxi cab going to Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Al Ain was small in area and population compared to Dubai; a quiet and remote area within the emirates but rich with beautiful scenery and places. And, locals said, the place where Head of State was born.

When I arrived, I went upstairs in my room at the second floor where I cleaned, arranged and decorated my new habitat. I visited the store, greeted the staff and posted a notice in the bulletin board for a store meeting the next day. I was able to talk to one of the staff about the store condition and management. Also, I observed that I was the first Filipino to work in Al Ain branch. The more I wanted to know about the business and people of Al Ain, the more I missed the Dubai environment.

I accepted my fate totally to enable me to function properly with my job, and the people to be with that I forced myself to intermingled with the best of my abilities. I need them and they needed me.

For the first two weeks of my stay in Al Ain, I was able to know more OFW’s with the same dreams as mine. I joined the OFW International: a group of OFW’s working in Al Ain whose mission was to help OFW’s with their problems and teaching them on how to get along with their employers.

I handled troubled Filipinos especially housemaids during my first week in the organization. I used my experiences, skills, knowledge and determination in doing what I called “helping hands.” Without much fuzzed on my part I excelled with my new found social responsibilities within the scope of my new environment. But, deep inside of me, I wanted more than what I can do to them in my own way. They were people with the same dreams as mine, but different in some aspects of their status in life. Moreover, life for them means helping their family financially, much more for themselves, than the results of working in the foreign land without weapons to depend upon. I resumed my job in the store but my heart kept on coming back to the OFW International Office to mingle with Filipino people; and to extend my help to those who need aid in some way or the other.

One day, I had a scheduled interview with a guy named Roger Ferrer – a worker in a Pakistani restaurant who had been in Al Ain for almost five years. “So, you are here for almost five years but your employer doesn’t want you to have a vacation leave? Am I right Roger?”

“Yes sir.”

I smiled and said, “Just call me Marco, okay?” He looked at me, smiled and said, “Okay Marco.”

“Kindly tell me your story from recruitment until today, so that I could give my assessment for your case.”

“Okay Marco...I’ve been hired by the recruitment agency in Ermita, Manila with the agreement that I’ll received US$300 as my monthly salary, free accommodation and food. That agency didn’t give a copy of that agreement to me. I paid for my placement fee for 14,000 pesos exclusive of processing my documents; but when I arrived here in Al Ain, my monthly salary changed to US$200 per month. You know, I am honest with my dealing to the agency but look what happened to me! I wanted to report to the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi, but I don’t know how...”

“I’ve got your points Roger, and I’ll review this today, okay?”

“Okay Marco, can I invite you to my room...I want to chat with you, personally? Your day-off today isn’t it?”

“How do you know Roger?”

“I have eyes and ears all over Al Ain….ha-ha-ha-ha….”

“Joke, joke, joke...okay, let’s go..I ask the president for permission to go with you. Wait there…” I left Roger and I entered the office of our president, Mr. Fidel Rosales.

“Sir, asking your permission to come with my client and besides it’s my day off today?”

“Okay, Marco, go on and take care.”

“Thank you sir.”

We went to his accommodation room along the Main Road, a room filled with sealed boxes, a bed, TV, music component and a small table. We sat on the carpeted floor and he offered biscuits and instant coffee.

“Marco, how do you find my small room, not well huh?”

“Well, in my case, it’s small, but since you’re alone, this is great; unlike some workers of other nationalities, really lived in a battered room full of workers. Is that the case with your co-workers in the restaurant where you’ve been working?”

“Yes Marco, and to think, that they are receiving US$100 as their monthly salary…”

“Yes, as what I’ve learned from the OFW Intl. office.”

“I’m just curious about you. You know I find you very intelligent and kind. But I’ve heard that you came from Dubai, is that true?”

“Yes, Roger, I’ve been there for two years, hooked up in some bad habits and transferred here in Al Ain.”

“Marco, drink your coffee, it’s getting cold.”

“Okay Roger, thanks.”

“Personally, I’d like to open up to you where I came from, in my own way of telling somebody I trusted, but for the sake of my curiosity about you Marco, could you tell me your life or childhood days, or whatever...please...”


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A freelance writer who meticulously structured and maintained blogs just for you:A LIFE SO FAR AWAYand my other business blog:SHOPPING eMALL Thank you for your valuable time. Follow my business & writings and you'll find what life's meant to be.

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  1. Now those places and photos are truly wonderful.

  2. Personally i admire OFW. They left their family to give a better life. i cant wait for the next post ;)

  3. I wonder when the lost son would resurface in the story.

  4. That's a great story! I remember my dad... he's an OFW too. I'll wait for the continuation! :)

  5. i really wanted to visit dubai :) and it is really nice to meet other ofw's

  6. Wow, you're truly a certified OFW already. You've been to different countries already and had different jobs. It must really feel sad to be away from your loved ones, but I know they understand that you are doing the hard work for their future. Always take care!

  7. It's always hard at first to adjust when in a new work environment such as Al Ain, United Arab Emirates especially if you're the first Filipino.

  8. Such a great writing skill you have.I enjoyed this and yes nice pictures.

  9. Looking forward to your next installment.

  10. I salute all OFWs like you sir. I too had OFW families abroad. You guys are true heroes because of your unfathomable sacrifices for your families and loved ones. Nice photos by the way. been planning to visit Dubai.

  11. That's a great story my dad went to Dubai and he really had a great time.

  12. I really like the photo of the building that looks like a birthday cake. I would like to see it in persom.

  13. I wonder what is waiting for Roger and Marco ahead.

  14. It must be heavy for Marco to go back to Dubai with still one son missing in the Philippines.

  15. Now I remember my family abroad. nice part of the story. looking forward for the next one.

  16. This is a great chapter. I like the additional photos.


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