‘Poverty is not a hindrance to continue your dreams’
Everyone can admit that life is a never-ending fight between you and the uncontrollable force that creates pain. We live with baggage on our backs and we don’t have any options but to carry no matter how heavy it is.
Merthyle Sioco Falle, 27, like many ordinary overseas Filipino workers, is living and working in Dubai with a bitter past that made her stronger and a fighter in life. She mastered forgetting the bitterness of the past to make her life better.
“Before I work here in Dubai, there was a drastic change in order for me to adapt to my current job. Hindi madali pero sa bandang huli nag-eenjoy na rin ako,” she said.
Currently, she is looking after a 95-year-old Arabic woman. Falle, who can’t speak Arabic fluently, said that she already treated the woman as her family.
“Ganito pala yung pakiramdam na kapag nag-value ka sa isang tao, yung genuine love yung ibibigay mo kahit hindi naman kayo nagkakaintindihan mamahalin ka pa rin at rerespetuhin dahil alam kong ramdam niya yung pagmamahal na ibinibigya sa kanya,” she added.
Falle was born to a poor family. Her father had no formal job and her mother was just taking care of her four other siblings. At 11, she started working while studying—selling plastic bags, cleaning empty water bottles, and sold it per dozen. At the age of 17, she worked various jobs, including sales staff, sales lady, sales associate, cashier, waitress, supervisor, massage therapist, and a brand promoter for a mobile phone in the Philippines.
During her day off, she provided massage therapy to her clients, resell mobile phone accessories, garments, and cosmetics.
While growing up, the private therapist experienced discrimination, oppression, slapped with hurtful words, and was also judged because of their status in life.
She recalled selling plastic bags in a wet market barefooted because her family can’t afford a pair. “Grade 5 ako noon, ang ginawa ko nanghiram ako ng pera sa aming kapitbahay ng P3 para ibili ng plastic bag at ibenta sa palengke. Mula bahay hanggang palengke nilalakad ko yun ng nakapaa, tapos talon ako ng talon minsan kasi maiinit yung daan, wala akong tsinelas. Buong maghapon akong paikot-ikot sa loob ng palengke para lang makabenta ng plastic bag at makabili ng kalahating kilong bigas para maipakain sa bunso kong kapatid na iyak ng iyak,” she said.
Falle also collected empty Tanduay and Emperador bottles to sell it per sack. “Sa isang sako or 72 pieces ng Tanduay, P5 yun. 45 pieces naman ng long neck ay P5,” she added.
She earned her money so she can buy food for their family.
“Minsan pumapasok ako sa paaralan ng walang kain, minsan isang araw, isang beses lang. Minsan tubo lang ang kinakain,” she said.
Falle made sure that she will rise up gracefully and show to those people who underestimated them that she can succeed in life.
She is currently enrolled at the Filipino Institute to further develop her talents. She revealed that after working as a private therapist, she is planning to join another company that can help her skills cultivated.
“Gusto ko lang sabihin sa mga kababayan ko na patuloy kayong mangarap, huwag kayong mawawalan ng pag-asa. Huwag niyo gawing dahilan ang kahirapan para huwag ipagpatuloy ang inyong mga pangarap,” Falle said.