‘I never saw my mom’s face, but…’

“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” – Pele

 

FAIRFAX, Virginia – Polly Binuag was teenager when recruited to work as babysitter in the orphanage of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary in Manila.

In 1989 or after 14 years of taking care of new-born babies and up to six-year old tots, Sister Marietta, the orphanage superior, sent Polly to Michigan, USA to work for the family of one Dr. Jamora, the nun’s brother.

“I was chosen (to go to Michigan) over the other babysitter (in the orphanage) because I knew how to cook, do gardening work, and other household chores,” Polly recalls.

Polly received $200 per month while working in Michigan. After six years when her employer failed to give her a salary increase and a green card as allegedly promised, she wanted to go back to the Philippines.

But after realizing that she had five poor brothers and sisters back home in Ifugao relying for her support, Polly changed her mind.

 

NEW JERSEY

“Tumakas ako papuntang (I fled going to) New Jersey to work with a Filipino family,” she narrates.

Polly’s first employer allegedly kept her passport and refused to hand it over to her since she arrived, thus she left Michigan without proper documents.

In New Jersey, Polly was forced to call the first employer in Michigan and asked for apology in exchange for her passport.

“Luckily, my (first) employer sent my passport by mail and was not anymore angry at me,” she stresses.

In her second employer, Polly became homesick “and I wasn’t anymore happy,” she admits.

With the help of a friend, Polly landed in her third employer in Virginia where she found a “new home” for 13 years.

“I have been working in the United States for about 30 years now, and I am proud to say that even if I have no enough money, I was able to help my family in Ifugao,” Polly explains.

 

HELP

She was able to help some of her nephews, nieces, grandchildren and great grandchildren finish their studies.

“One of them is now a permanent employee in our town as electrical engineer; the other is a nurse in Saudi Arabia; the other an accountant in Hong Kong; and one a criminology graduate,” Polly reveals. “My heart is happy and I feel a sense of fulfillment inside.”

Polly says she is proud of her sacrifices and accomplishments in the United States.

“This is the life that God wanted me to live,” she hisses. “It’s God’s blessing why I am here in the United States.”

Polly grew up without remembering her mother’s face, who died when she was three.

“Because we had no camera at that time, we have no photo or any family album. I have no idea how my mother looked like,” she laments.

Polly says she admired her father who died in 1989 “because he showed his love for us his children and he never remarried after our mother died.”

“My advice to the young generation is they should not lose hope amid difficulties. They should always ask God’s help so they can survive. If my tyaga, may ilalaga,” Polly concludes.

She plans to come home “for good” in six to seven years.

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