Hi. My name is Renelyn S. I am an overseas Filipino worker here in Abu Dhabi, UAE. I have been working there for more than 5 years, and that counts as the equivalent to the number of years that I am away from my family especially my 2 kids.

Before I left the Philippines, I told myself that I am just going to give 5 years of my life to work abroad then I will be back to my kids. Unfortunately, I had to swallow those promises bitterly especially when coronavirus started kicking in.

Early this year, I have been hearing stories and news about this coronavirus but I always dismiss it, thinking that it is just a “simple” illness that will pass over the next few days. How wrong I was! Never that it came to my mind that this coronavirus can shut down every single nation, even the giants. I thought that the virus will not bring much harm here in UAE because this country has excellent medical services.  But nobody has seen it coming. Each day, cases started to increase, businesses are temporarily shutting down, salaries have been reduced, no work no pay has been implemented and many more remedies to survive this pandemic.

I am working as an HR personnel and this pandemic made our work tougher and more challenging because we have to think of plans on how we can help to protect our employees from this virus and at the same time protect the business. This pandemic caused us a lot of trouble especially with regards to processing visas because everything is on hold. Every single day, I will check the news and see the count of the active cases and it is scary because it keeps getting higher. But that was not the scariest part for me. I am such an over-thinker and somehow paranoid with things so when this coronavirus got worse in every single country, I have asked myself the most horrifying questions that I could think of… “What if, this is the end of the world, and there is no way for me to get home and be with my kids?” I can feel the pain in my throat while I am writing this question. What if I will never get the chance to hold them again, to hug them, and to tell them that everything is going to be okay?  My heart aches whenever I am thinking of these things.

With this pandemic, the most important thing that I had realized is that the most important thing in life is not money or any other material possessions, not even a title. Being with your family and with the people, you love matters most. You can have everything in the world but when you die, you can only carry the memories that you had spent with the people you love.

Now, I am making myself a promise that, when this pandemic end, I will do my very best to go home as quickly as possible so that I can be with my children again.