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My experiences when I first time found an employer in Hong Kong.
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My first contract in Hong Kong
After my 2 years contract in Malaysia (from Dec. 11, 2007 - Dec. 11, 2009), I decided to go to Hong Kong. I once again go in my previous agency, the Greenfields International Manpower Services. Located at 5th Floor, Room 504 & 505, LBH Building 1413A, Mabini St., Ermita, Manila, Philippines. Even though I have a bad experience in Malaysia but I am still positive about the agency that they are not a fake recruiter since they already send me to Malaysia. I need to trust them especially that I don't know places and agencies in Manila.
The process is all the same like when I apply for the first time to work abroad. I attend a 3 days seminar in Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) about Language and Culture familiarization. I attend a pre-departure Orientation Seminar (PEDOS), I undergo medical examination if I am fit to work. The only thing I did not do is to go for 3 weeks training in household course (NCll). I still use my training certificate from 2007 when I go to Malaysia because it will expired after 5 years. So many applicants that work in country and apply again in other agency still need to go in household training course and pay again. Because they don't know that they can use the training certificate until 5 years. So when they apply, but compare to going to Malaysia, the agency is collecting a very big amount of money from all their applicants. Without any receipt. The staff just write it down in the logbook and let us sign there.
When I go to Malaysia, I pay 6,000.00 PHP for my placement fee (not mentioning about my 6 months salary deduction when I arrive there). This time, the agency is asking from all the applicants bound to Hong Kong 85,000.00 PHP placement fee. I am ready for this since I really know about this from my sister in law and my best friend who was working in Hong Kong that time. I need to go in a lending company of the agency to borrow money so I can give them my placement fee in full before I fly to Hong Kong.
When I arrive in Hong Kong International Airport (that was April 11, 2010). From the instruction given to me by my Philippine agency, I need to call the Hong Kong agents office to let them know that I am already there. I need to wait for the staff of our Hong Kong agents to fetch me up. I meet 3 other Filipina there also waiting for the same staff. From Hong Kong International Airport we travel by bus and we go straight to the Immigration office. There we need to fill up application form for the Hong Kong ID. We need to have this ID to work and stay in Hong Kong. After we are done in the Immigration office, it is the time to go to our agents office. After we arrive in the agents office, we drop our luggage there and go straight to the clinic few steps away because we need to have a medical check up again. Urine, stool, chest x-ray and pregnancy test.
After that hectic on the first day in Hong Kong I have time to rest in my agents office while waiting for the time my employer will pick me up. And the time come, April 11, 2010 around 6:00 P.M my employer arrive in my agents office to pick me up. Now the real life to become an OFW in Hong Kong will begin. So help me Lord... I need to gather all the courage and strength that I have. Mentally and emotionally. The next day April 12, 2010 my first official working days begin and it will last for 2 years. I will be working in the family of 5 persons. 2 kids, the boy age 6 and girl is 8 years old, a couple and an elderly mother from my boss wife.
First day. Orientation... what to do inside the house from morning after I wake up until night time before I close my eyes to sleep. I need to wake up at 5:30 every morning to prepare all the things that the kid's need to go to school. Uniforms, socks and shoes. I need to cook foods for breakfast and lunch. I need to wake up the girl at 6:00 A.M. prepare her toothbrush and a glass of water inside the bathroom. Let her eat the breakfast while I am preparing her food for lunch in school in her lunch box. After she is done eating, I need to assist her to change into her school uniform, wear her socks and shoes for her. Comb and tie her hair and she is ready to go at 6:20 A.M. I need to go with her in the place where the school bus stop. And I need to be punctual and on time because the school bus will leave after 5 minutes. They will not wait for the late student. Then I need to be back home after the school bus left. After I arrive, I need to discipline myself, I need to wash my hand the moment I go inside the house... that is one of the most important rule. The next thing I need to do is to wake up the boy. Prepare his things in the bathroom (toothbrush with toothpaste and a glass of water), school uniform, socks and shoes and his breakfast. After he is done eating I need to help him to wear his school uniform, socks and shoes. And he is ready for the day. This time I am lucky because his father will be the one to go with the boy in his school.
After the kids are gone to school, I need to start my house chores. Starting from the rooms, tidy up their beds and clean the rooms. Then the living room and the kitchen area. NOTE: All the things inside the house must be gleaming and shining after I clean. Need that every corner of the house must be clean and shining too. And dust free. And I need to start the washing machine for the laundry then hang the clothes. At noon time, I need to cook for our lunch. And prepare food in a lunch box for the boy's lunch in school. At 11:30 I need to leave the house to bring the boy's food in school. After I come back in the house I will eat my lunch and prepare to leave again to fetch the girl from school bus stop. After we come back at around 4:00 p.m. I need to proceed for my house work. I need to clean up again the house so no dust is visible in their eyes. And also to keep myself busy because they told me that I am there to work and not to rest. If my laundry is dry, I need to iron it and some need only to be fold. At 6:00 in the evening I need to prepare our food for dinner. And while cooking, I need to assist the two kids to take a shower one by one and at 7:00 o'clock we need to eat. After dinner, I need to tidy up the table, clean the dishes and all the kitchen utensils that I use for cooking. Throw away the garbage and clean up the living/dinning room area. And after all, I need to clean up myself and get ready to sleep. And that is around 11:00 - 11:30 almost midnight. Every weekend I need to add in my daily routine is to wash two cars and all the windows.
This is my daily and weekly routine since day one until I finish my two years contract with my first employer in Hong Kong. I am only lucky that I did not go to the market because the old woman whom we called 'Popo' (grandma) is the one who do the marketing. And here in Hong Kong I have my once a week day off and after three months stay in my employer I avail also the statutory holiday. Statutory holiday means all public holidays in Hong Kong is also a holiday for domestic helper.
Even if I work nonstop everyday from the moment I open my eyes until the time I need to go to sleep again. And from Monday to Saturday, but here in Hong Kong I have a day off and the salary is really the total amount of what stated in my contract when I signed it. And from my salary, I send my 3 daughters in colleges. Slowly... I am reaching for my dreams.