An OFW or Overseas Filipino Worker is a term that applies to all Filipinos who work abroad. Many things are being sacrificed in exchange for living outside the country for extended periods. It may mean detachment from family members, or depriving themselves of the gratifying feeling of watching their children grow. They opt to leave the country not only to look for better career opportunities, but also to ensure that they can provide a brighter future for their family, even if it means being far from them.
Mr. Dick Mabborang is one of the thousands of OFW who have taken the risk of being away from their families He is 31 years old, a registered nurse, a loving husband to his wife, and a responsible father to his children. Dick loves travelling, singing, playing the guitar, playing basketball, riding his big bike and watching rock concerts. He went to Philippine College of Health and Sciences Inc. and has a Bachelors Degree in Nursing.
It was in the year 2008 when Dick started working in Saudi Arabia. His employment there only lasted for 6 months, and unfortunately, he had to go back to the Philippines to work locally once again.
“I decided to work as an OFW because I want to save enough money for my family. My firstborn was only 3 months old when I first left, and though it was very heartbreaking to be away from them, I had no choice but to leave because working locally as a nurse for a private hospital was not enough for me to support them financially”, Dick said.
In 2011, Dick tried to work his way again to Saudi Arabia. It was the time when his son would be going to school soon, and it was really paramount to start saving for that.
“My wife was also pregnant at that time. The fact that I wouldn’t be physically present to take care of my family, especially my wife, during and after her pregnancy was really heartrending for me. But again, I still opted to leave to support the finances of my growing family”, he said.
Fortunately, his second attempt to work abroad went well. Dick is now working as an EMT or Emergency Medical Technician in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Tabuk International Airport Fire Station. He’s been with the company, Saudi Sicli, for 2 years and 6 months already. Aside from his monthly income of 2,800 SR (Saudi Riyal), he’s also receiving 1,500 SR hazardous pay and other benefits. Working in a foreign country requires him to study their language, respect their traditional cultures and beliefs, and make friends with them.
Dick usually start his day by having a coffee or tea, and smoking a stick of cigarette. He also reads newspapers/books and listens to slow rock or jazz music. Sometimes, these helps him cope with stress and homesickness.
“The most effective way for me to cope with sadness is by praying. Things like homesickness or stress should not hinder anyone from achieving his/her goals.To avoid myself from feeling lonesome, I keep myself busy by playing basketball, or singing with some bands especially when there is a party here at our place. I constantly communicate with my family through phone calls or skype video calls, which always ease the loneliness that I feel whenever I miss them. My family serves as my inspiration.”, he said.
Dick’s profession as an Emergency Medical Technician can be very stressful and demanding. Being an EMT is about saving lives. Their task is almost similar to ER nurses, like assessing the patients, giving first aid treatment, etc. The only difference is that EMTs are working closely with the fire department, and they are the first ones who respond to emergencies, mostly in road traffic accidents.
“I deal and respond to people who are wounded, fractured, dead, or anyone who needs medical attention. Some of the challenges that I encounter everyday include transferring patients to the hospital and reviving dead patients through CPR. Being an EMT is a very demanding job since accidents can happen anytime, even while you are having meals, sleeping, having toilet rituals... It is like a soldier always on alert!, Dick explained.
Being able to share the skills and knowledge of what he does is something that he is grateful about. It is fulfilling and heartwarming for him to help, serve and save people.
One unforgettable experience that Dick has had as an EMT was when they picked up a patient from an airplane. Due to the patient’s critical condition, they drove their way to the hospital as fast as they could, speeding from 140 to 170 km/h. Dick and his fellow EMT were currently doing a procedure when the driver went on full break to avoid clashing with a car. They caromed inside the ambulance and gained minor wounds and bruises. They were very thankful that the patient was safely buckled up which prevented him to be in more danger than he was already in. After getting back on their feet, Dick and his fellow EMT continued the delayed procedure, as if nothing had happened. They ignored the pain that had been was by the incident, and just continued to focus on attending to their patient. When they reached the hospital, Dick was emotionally moved by how the nurses assisted them to treat their wounds and bruises.
“On a positive note, we were given hazardous pay and 1 week paid sick leave”, he added.
Working hard to save the lives of many people, and support the needs of his family back home, are the things that keeps Dick strong and moving. Someday, he wishes to find a good career opportunity in the Philippines so that there’s no need for him to work abroad and be away from his family. That way, he can guide his children as they grow up, and be with his loving wife all the time.
“One shouldn’t be afraid to take risks, especially if it is for his family. You must keep yourself dedicated and committed. Always put God first on all the decisions that you make. Give thanks and praise Him with all your heart. Stay humble and be good to others, regardless of their race or color. These are just some of the keys that can help you succeed in life”, Dick said.
Life isn’t easy and sometimes, sacrificing your personal interests can be the only way to make a dream come true for you and your loved ones. It takes guts, hardwork and dedication to survive the physical, psychological and emotional torments that one can experience as he/she works his way to adequately provide for his/her family.