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Inspiring Story of an OFW from Pampanga that became a Dual Citizen

A simple lady from Guagua, Pampanga, Philippines graduated with a degree in Midwifery and from then on, her dream to work in the medical field led her to become an OFW. Her life is a combination of happiness and sadness but she never lost Faith and Hope.

A veteran of many culture and traditions, people who truly know her consider her a successful OFW. The way she holds on to her Faith and how she handles trials will give all of us the inspiration to do well and survive.

Her name is Lolet and this is her inspiring story.

When did you start to become an OFW? May you tell us the country and your first job as an OFW?

 It was in 1993 when I was hired as a Nursing staff in Khamis Mushayt, Saudi Arabia.

What were the adjustments you experienced as a first time OFW?

The most important adjustment was wearing the Abaya because in Saudi, you are never allowed to wear shorts, sleeveless and the like. Every time you go out you should be wearing the Abaya with the Tarha to cover your hair or else the Mutawa police will run after you and keep chasing you to cover your hair. Then the food and environment is quite different from the Filipino culture.

How long did it take you to return home to the Philippines as a balikbayan for the first time?

It took me 1 year and 6 months to go back.

Do you have any special memories to recall?

Yes, gathering with the other Filipino nurses during weekend and whenever someone celebrates her birthday, taking lots of photos and dancing till dawn.

Being an OFW is not easy, you have to value every single penny you earn, save and invest while you are young and until you can stay as an OFW especially if you are earning good money as you will never get this in Philippines. Enjoy life as you never know what tomorrow brings and stay humble. Life is short.

What would you consider the most challenging part of your life as an OFW?

The most challenging part was when I became a widow. From living a well-provided life, I had to be both father and mother to my young daughter. With the help of good friends, we moved to a small place and I needed to work extra jobs aside from working as a teaching assistant in a school. I had to do part time jobs like baby sitting or pet sitting. I also did some baking cakes and my clients were mostly our friends and their other friends.

How many countries have you lived in, so far? Where is your favorite and why?

I am blessed to have lived in 4 countries namely; Saudi, Kuwait, Jordan and Bahrain. My favorite is Bahrain because, despite the difficulties of being a widow and a single mom, I could tell my life is quite easier for me to live here as compared if I am in the Philippines or Jordan. My daughter is 15 but this September, she will be in Grade 11 as she was accelerated when was in Grade 8. She is a scholar at Multinational School of Bahrain, one of the most expensive schools in the country.

We are blessed with good friends in Bahrain who used to help and support us with some of our needs although I am not that kind of person who takes advantage of anyone’s kindness. That’s why even though our life is like a roller coaster wherein sometimes we are up and at times we are down. But still we are able to cope well. I strongly believe that God is always there for us. No matter what comes my way I always welcome things with a smile, prayer and thanking God for everything. I never ask for an easy life but to guide me always with all my endeavors.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of meeting people with different culture?

The advantage of meeting people with different culture is you get to be aware of their culture and traditions including their food and clothing. I don’t consider it disadvantage because it’s how you cope with their way of life and live peacefully with them. Everyone has his own culture and traditions so it’s just a matter of how you will respect each other’s way of living.

We understand that you hold dual citizenship / nationality. May you briefly share with us the story?

 I was working at the New Mowasat Hospital in Kuwait when I met my husband where he was my patient. He was a Jordanian, working in Bahrain and he went to Kuwait for a visit to give support to the call center system of National Bank of Kuwait. We had a whirlwind courtship and marriage. We then moved to Bahrain. He was a very loving husband and father, a very good provider. He gave us the best life possible. We used to live in a 4 star hotel where every other day, the housekeeper came to clean the whole flat, changed the beddings, towels and provided tissues. I was a homemaker who has cooking and baking skills, but sometimes, my husband would take us out for lunch or dinner.

What do you think are the positive and negative points (if there’s any) about having dual citizenship / nationality?

 I had my Jordanian nationality in 2010 when we tried to settle in Jordan and since then I used my Jordanian passport when we travel. Then my Philippine passport got expired in 2013 yet I could not just renew it because I have to provide all new documents like birth certificate, marriage contract, my Jordanian nationality certification. The positive point of having dual nationality is you get to travel to some countries that allow both nationalities to enter with less difficulty.

Negative point is if either of my passports is expired, I need to get a Tourist Visa before I can enter Jordan or the Philippines. Even if I am a natural born Filipino, I still need to get a Tourist Visa if I use my Jordanian passport to travel to the Philippines. So it is very important that my two passports are both valid. Right now, I am in the process of renewing my Philippine passport.

What advice can you give younger OFWs so they can be successful in their own way?

 Being an OFW is not easy, you have to value every single penny you earn, save and invest while you are young and until you can stay as an OFW especially if you are earning good money as you will never get this in Philippines. Enjoy life as you never know what tomorrow brings and stay humble. Life is short.

How often do you visit your family and loved ones in the Philippines?

I used to visit my family and loved ones every 6 months when my husband was still alive. We had good income from his company. Then, when he was diagnosed of colon cancer that was the time I couldn’t visit the Philippines and it took us 7 years before my daughter and I came to see my parents and siblings. But now, I could say we can see them every year.

May you tell us where you live now and what keeps you busy?

I live in Bahrain with my daughter now. I am working as a teaching assistant at school in the morning, doctor assistant in the afternoon and sometimes I do baby or pet sitting.

How do you see yourself 5 years from now?

 I might still be here in Bahrain but if given the chance, we might relocate to Canada, UK or in USA especially if it concerns my daughter’s college education. Or it could be in the Philippines where I would want to venture my own nursery school.

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