Thursday, November 20, 2008

Servants in the Nest of a Foreigner

Overseas Filipino workers occupy their free time with a variety of activities, bowling, basketball, cards, hanging out with friends, karaoke, all designed to make them forget that they are in a foreign land and far away from their homes and families.

Anna Maria Zenaida Sundiang Magno, however, did something else.

Zenaida filled her days with words, sentences, adjectives, verbs and idioms.

She took her experiences as a maid for a Kuwaiti family and wove it into a compelling story of a girl forced into overseas work by her family’s need added to her personal circumstances.

After more than two decades of overseas work, Zenaida produced a book, “Katulong sa Pugad ng Dayuhan” which detailed the life of Maria Dolores, both before she succumbed to overseas employment and during her stint abroad.

In the book, Zenaida also told of how Maria Dolores fared when Kuwait was invaded by the Iraqis during the first Gulf War, how she was betrayed by a compatriot who befriended her during the war, and her eventual homecoming.

Zenaida filled her life writing and incorporating into her story her life as a domestic helper, and the lives of her fellow OFWs in Kuwait.

With the help of Sheika Bibi Nasser Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, Zenaida’s book was eventually published in Kuwait and later even translated into English and entitled "Servants in the Nest of a Foreigner."

Zenaida is now in charge of the Chevron Company’s guesthouse in Kuwait and is working on upgrading her computer skills through self-study.

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