I think most Pinoys had a yaya at some point in their lives. I don’t remember having one of my own when I was very young, but there’s a picture of me at age 1 or something, with a young girl who isn’t a relative, so I guess she was my yaya.
When my mother and I moved to Saudi Arabia to be with my father, I didn’t have a yaya. When my brother was born in 1990, Ate Vangie came to work for us. She was tall and skinny, she wore a lot of makeup and her hair was dyed a light brown. I don’t remember much else about her, but I remember that my parents fired her. One day, my father arrived home unexpectedly early, and he found that Ate Vangie had left my brother in his stroller, facing a blaring TV, while she yakked away on the phone with God knows who.
Ate Amy came to live with us after that. Ate Amy was Ilocana, and she was petite and a little round. She had long hair that she kept in a bun, and she had cute little bangs across her forehead.
I think Ate Amy loved my brother like she did her own son (if she had a son. I honestly don’t remember). I remember she would bundle Victor up in a blanket and tie him to her back, so that she could carry him around and he could sleep while she did chores around the house.
There were other OFWs who hung out at our house frequently. Some of them worked with my parents. Others, my dad had helped out in one way or another. I remember one of them, Arnel, hanging around Ate Amy a lot. There were a few afternoons when my parents were at work, and he would come over, and they would cuddle on the couch.
I don’t know how, but my parents found out. There was a tearful confrontation between my dad and Ate Amy. I remember blurting out, something along the lines of, ay oo nga, andito si Tito Arnel, di ba magkatabi pa kayo sa sofa? Ate Amy tearfully denied it, and I was confused.
She had a family back in Ilocos, a husband and I don’t remember how many kids. I remember she sent money home, and her husband ran for barangay councilor or something, and lost. I remember her crying when she found out that her husband had taken up with another woman. I remember how forlorn she looked when we finally went back to the Philippines for good.
I don’t know where she is now. I don’t know her last name, or if my brother even remembers her.
I hope she’s all right. I hope she was able to save up enough money to go home to Ilocos, to be with her own kids.