Yaya Ruffa

It was my childhood friend who recommended her. Pie said Irish had been with them for a year, taking care of their son, and Irish’s friend was looking for work. So we got Ruffa’s number, and I asked Oneal to get in touch with her.

She was 22, and she had a four-year-old daughter. She had worked in Manila before, and wanted to work again. Her sister could take care of her daughter, she said.

We told her the deal: her salary, days off, meals, duties, etc. She was fine with everything, and eager to work. The only problem was that she was in Zamboanga, so we would have to pay for her airfare, and deduct it from her pay afterwards. She was fine with that too.

We bought the ticket, and sent cash for her land travel, and she came over at the start of June.

She was cheerful and kind, and easy to work with. She seemed to genuinely like Lucas, and played with him outside.

Less than a week after Ruffa arrived, her mother texted us, asking if Ruffa could come back home by July.

Apparently, after Ruffa left, things went a little haywire for the family. Her sister had to leave, because the sister’s mother-in-law got sick. Ruffa’s daughter had to stay with Ruffa’s mother. Ruffa’s mother had severe swelling in both feet, and it was so painful that she couldn’t take care of the child. Come home, they asked Ruffa.

It was frustrating, but what could we do? We told Ruffa to stay until late July, so she could work off the cost of her airfare coming to Manila, and her boat fare back to Zamboanga. I wouldn’t be able to pay her salary, I told her, because the cost of her transportation used it all up. I suggested that she stay till August, so I could pay her one month’s salary, at least. Her mother didn’t like the idea.

So Ruffa stayed with us for two months. She wanted to stay longer, so she could work, and earn, and buy a birthday gift for her daughter’s birthday in December. We wanted her to stay, because she was kind and hard-working, and she cared about Lucas. Even Dad liked her. And Lucas was clearly attached to her.

As the date of her departure drew near, I told her to fix her family situation and come back to us. “Talaga po? ” she said eagerly. She explained that her father wanted her to work too, and was suggesting that her aunt be the one to take care of her daughter. “Pagdating ko po sa amin, kinabukasan tatawag ako,” she promised.

We told her, if she could promise to come back right away, maybe in two weeks or even a month, we wouldn’t look for a replacement, and we would wait for her. Ruffa seemed very happy, and she promised she’d find a way to fix things at home so she could come back.

I hope she comes back.

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