As Families across the province celebrate Mother’s Day, for B.C.’s thousands of migrant workers it’s a bittersweet reminder of the sacrifice they make for their children.
“To say that it’s hard would be an understatement because every day I carry the guilt of leaving her,” says Hessed Torres. The 29-year-old came to B.C. eight months ago from the Philippines under the live in caregiver program. She’s hoping to immigrate here, with the goal of eventually bringing her four-year-old daughter Noel.
But on Mother’s day, she’s painfully reminded of how far away her family is.
“I fear that she’ll forget me, or start to forget me and not know me any more. And it’s been eight months, and so far she hasn’t forgotten me. But there are times she doesn’t want to talk to me probably because she’s busy with something. And I don’t want to take it personally, because she’s young and she probably doesn’t understand… but being on the other end of the line or the video chat it hurts, because I miss her so much.”
She’s not alone. The Federal Government says in 2013 alone 44,000 Filipino workers came to Canada.
Making Mother’s Day all the harder is the landfall of Super Typhoon Noul in her home country. She says it’s exactly the kind of thing she worried about when she chose to work abroad.
“That had always been my fear, to be so far away from them. And knowing that there would be typhoons that would come and go. And me not being able to do anything physically to be there with them. It freaks me out.”
While her daughter is in Manila, far from the typhoon’s landfall, he says she’s anxiously watching its progress online and is heartsick for the lives it could destroy.
She says she came to Canada with the hope of a better future for her daughter. But on days like today, she feels the sacrifice more keenly than others.