During my stay in the Philippines, I talked a lot with the au pair from my hostfamily. I've learned a lot about her life in the Philippines and was really inspired by her life stories. For this interview I wanted to chat with her daughter of my age (Janine), because I was very curious about her life and her thoughts about different topics.
Janine is 20 years old and works as a sales lady in a departmentstore. She works every day of the week (except wednesday) from 9 am to 10 pm. After work she has dinner and goes to bed. At her day off (wednesday) she does her laundry, cleans the house and sometimes (not very often) she meets her friends. This is how her life looks like.
Her parents are both from a province far from Manila. Her mother works as au pair and her father doesn't have a job anymore. She has two brothers (21 & 18). One couldn't study, because of the school fee, so he works sinds he was very young. The other brother is studying.
When we talked about global issues, it became clear that she barely talks about this with people in her environment and she doens'nt often think about this. She doesn't think she is a global citizen, because she doesn't really know what it means. She said that she only talks about family and life with her friends and family. I was curious why she thinks that global issues are not important. The answer she gave had a point. In her opinion there are a lot of local problems in the Philippines, as politic problems (corruption), poverty, finding work in the Philippines. So she has enough on her mind she says. Her family is pretty poor, she can only have a 5 month contract at work (so she has to switch jobs everytime after 5 months), so everything is insecure in her life. She saves water as much as possible and she recycles plastic water bottles, but the reason for this is that saving water safes money and for recycling plastic bottle she earns money. So in fact she does contribute to a better, sustainable world, but not for the same purpose as we do.
Climate and equality are topics where she doesn't seem interessed in. She knows about climate change, global warming etc. but as I wrote before, there are enough local problems to think of, that she can't think about broader problems in this world. She do think that there should be equality in the world, but more than that, we couldn't talk.
Janine helps other people in her country as much as she can. She gives clothes, money and food to her community when she gets a bonus or extra salary at work. I asked her why she does that, because she already gives the half of her salary to her parents each month and her income is far below average. She said that she is greatful that she has a job, because a lot of people don't. So she wants to share with people who have less than she has. Sometimes she gives beggers or people with a disability some money (1 ct) to buy food. So even Janine has not much to spend, she still wants to share what she has with others. I think we can learn from that.
Janine's skills are dancing, singing and 'hard working'. She thinks that she can help others with those skills. As an example: Sometimes there is a dance or singing contest in a shoppingmall. When she wins, she gives the money to people who need it more than she does. So she can help them a little. Other skills of Janine are: she is a good listener and she had respect for people as individual.
The song thanks to you from Tyler Collins inspires Janine. This song reminds her of her familie for giving her inspiration, hope, faith in herself. It also reminds her for being responsible and giving her family back in what they gave her.
The dialogue with Janine opened my eyes in another way. I understand why thinking, talking and doing something about global issues are not obvious for everybody in this world, especially when your living on the edge of severe poverty. Her life is insecure, she lives by the day and takes care of her family. In her way, she is trying to be better every day and help others as much as she can. Although she doensn't do anything directly for global issues, I feel that her behavior sets an example for us to follow...