The Lives of Immigrant Women Who Tend to the Needs of Others

An intimate portrait of an oversea Filipino worker (or, O.W.F.) living for 16 years in an outer borough of New York City, far from her nine daughters in The Philippines.

by Rachel Aviv, in The New Yorker

"Since the nineteen seventies, the government of the Philippines has promoted labor exportation as a strategy for relieving poverty and alleviating the national debt. A tenth of the population now works abroad, supporting nearly half of the country's households and leaving some nine million Filipino children missing a parent. In the past decade, three-quarters of O.F.W.s have been women; former President Corazon Aquino has praised them as 'the heroes of our country's economy....'

"Emma was offended by employers who repeated their instructions, as if she didn't have the mental capacity t remember, or insisted that she wash the floor using a sponge, on her knees, rather than standing and using a mop. Nella, who called her employers 'ma'am' and 'sir,' urged Emma to be less vocal. 'As long as they do not hurt you or hit you, just let it pass,' she said."

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