- June Sayuber lost her father in 2016
- As the eldest, she had to take responsibility for her younger siblings
- She decided to work abroad to earn enough money for her family
She was supposed to be starting out her own life as an adult. But fate had other things in store for June Sayuber.
When she was 28 years old, June lost the man she had always counted on her whole life - her father.
She has her own job, but what about her other siblings who are still in school? What would happen to them?
As the eldest, it fell upon June's shoulders to become the breadwinner and provide for her siblings.
"May mga kapatid akong nag-aaral. Sayang kasi pag mag-stop sila, kaya ako nag-abroad dahil sa family ko. Ako ang tumutustos sa lahat ng pangangailangan nila from house budget at education," said June in a letter to KAMI.
On May 18, 2016, June left for the Middle East for the first time.
Her employers were kind to her. But they were strict with their house rules. She can't have a cellphone, she can't talk to the driver, and she can't have a day off.
The other rules were okay with June. But she wanted a way to get in touch with her family back in the Philippines.
She asked her employer to let her buy an Internet sim with her own money. They agreed, but she can only buy one after three months of employment. She was able to afford one after four months.
Her employers let her eat anything in their kitchen. But because of their culture, they mostly only have bread.
"Food lang ang libre sa'min dito. Pero ang food natin siyempre iba sa kanila. Lagi silang tinapay. Kaya ang iba sabi nila laging gutom, walang pagkain. Kahit anong pagkain sa kusina, sige kain lang pantawid gutom habang nagtatrabaho tayo," said June.
The 30-year-old worked hard as a sacrifice for her family. However, her salary was always delayed by more or less 3 months.
Her employers would also almost always blame her for anything that was broken or not working in the house. And it will be deducted from her salary.
"Pag may masisira binabawas sa sweldo. Kahit anong sira, aircon na di gumagana, sabihin katulong ang sumira. Pag check ng maintenance yun pala di nililinis ang aircon nila, sobrang alikabok ba naman lalo na pag sandstorm," said June.
Working as a domestic worker in Saudi is hard, said June. The Arabs want to maintain their homes like a hotel. So every single thing out of place must be fixed immediately.
"Gusto kasi nila gayahin ang sa hotel na style na laging malinis tingnan at neat ang bahay," said June.
She gets only four hours of sleep every night. She takes care of everything in the house, including babysitting. Another helper does the laundry and ironing.
"Masasabi ko pa rin na kahit papano maswerte ako kahit mabunganga lang yung amo kong babae kasi di naman sila nanakit. Puyat at pagod lang talaga. Pero okay lang kaya naman," said June.
Her two siblings will graduate from college this year. But she still has her other siblings to work for.
"At least yung dalawang kapatid ko gagraduate na ng college nitong darating na graduation. Mga sumunod ay nag-aaral pa. Kahit papano may bunga din ang pagtiyatiyaga dito sa abroad," said June.
Her contract will end on May 18. She only hopes her employer will get her a ticket on time.
"Sana nga makauwi ako agad kasi kadalasan pa naman dito di ka kukuhanan ng ticket agad-agad, delayed pa ng ilang buwan," said June.
On February 2, Guhit Pinas member and artist Aubrey So took away her life due to depression. This video is to pay tribute to Aubrey and to raise awareness about mental health. Rest in peace, Aubrey.
Depression has no face | Kami Stories - on KAMI YouTube Channel