Wednesday, 18 March 2009

It's a maid's life

Yesterday when I was walking down to the supermarket, a young Filipina maid stopped me to talk. Her employers were leaving the country and she was asking around to find new work. She obviously didn't trust her agency to find her something. She said she looks after a 3-year-old, and when I asked if she had children of her own she said she had two, of 8 and 10, who live with her parents in the Philippines. She is separated from her husband, and hasn't seen her children for 2 years. She was desperate not to see them again, but to find work so that she could send money home to feed them.

This sounds awful, but it's an all too common story. The women are expected to work to feed the family, while the men... well... do what they want to. This often seems to involve smoking, gambling and drugs with their mates rather than working. Children are cared for by their grandparents. Of course I have only the women's versions, because I don't meet a lot of Filipino men here - but maybe that tells its own story.

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