By Jay-Mie on 3rd Aug 2020

Horizons: home for talented migrant workers in Hong Kong
Migrant Writers of Hong Kong

It was late afternoon, I was sitting outside our shop in my hometown. My husband called me and asked me to go inside. He asked me to talk to someone who's in Morocco. He said he is looking for a second hand car at an online car shop for his sister. The "owner" of the car, he said, was Filipina who used to live in Nueva Vizcaya but decided to migrate in Morocco. He said, he already sent her a message but she responded in English, so he needed my help.

Cutting it short, we closed the deal and the car was supposed to be delivered in a few days by her "caretaker". Things happened so fast that we were like hypnotized and followed all her instructions to deposit the money through money transfer. They instructed us to deposit the money using our relative's name if we were having doubt and just to make sure the money was safe until the car arrives. So we did because the amount was no joke at all, it was two hundred thousand pesos in cash!

Next morning my husband won't stop bugging me to call up the caretaker and ask if he was on his way to deliver the car. I was so annoyed actually. He could be so stubborn sometimes. So I sent a message to the "caretaker" and he said he was on his way.

Around eleven o' clock in the morning, my husband felt tensed already because we were not getting any response from the "caretaker". He said, let's go check the money if it was taken or not. I said calm down, the money is under your brother-in- law's name, how would they get it? But we still went to check the money anyway.

I began to feel nervous on the way to the remittance center. When we got there, we asked the teller to check the money we deposited yesterday in his brother- in- law's name. "Mam, the money had been received" BOOM !!! Hearing those words made us both very weak. We turned so pale, shaken and didn't know what to do.
We realized that we became victims of a scammer, a big time fraud.

We decided to go to the nearest Land Transportation Office to verify on the car. The car was listed to another name and another place.

I tried to contact the "caretaker" and the "owner" but they rejected my calls and blocked me already.

On our way home, we were silent. We didn't know how to tell his sister that we failed. That we lost the money, their money. In my mind, i was cursing myself, " Napakatanga mo!!! Akala ko ba matalino ka?! Bakit ang dali mong naniwala?!"

We closed our shop and immediately went to our in-laws' house. When we gathered enough courage, we spilled the beans. Right then and there, I saw my husband cried and fell on his knees. I never saw him so broken before. I was stunned, speechless. I could not cry. I reached over to my husband and comforted him, hoping to lessen his anguish. He begged for understanding, He begged for forgiveness. And in my husband's deep yearning he said these words, "we will pay for the lost money."

That grief stricken night, my children had no delicious food to eat for dinner. My husband told me, we should start saving to repay the money. It was only that time that I found myself crying, he hugged me tight and said, "May awa ang Diyos, malalagpasan din natin ito."

I tried to seek justice for what happened to us. I went to Manila, at Raffy Tulfo's office. But the staff just gave me a reccomendation letter without hearing my whole story first. The letter was addressed to the National Bureau of Investigation. So I went there, I was just hopeful. I know was impossible to get those scammers to jail, "suntok sa buwan" as they say. My case was labeled as "cyber crime". But after a few times going back and forth to Manila, I gave it up. It was pointless, it was going nowhere. Damn me being a Filipino! Damn me, living in a poor country with poor justice system! I found myself saying in anger.

In one of my journey going back home from Manila, I looked at the sky from the window of the bus. I talked to God, "I believe You will never give me something that I cannot carry, but please, again, I am asking You to give me strength with this one. This is quite heavy, I need your help my Lord!" I silently cried at my seat.

A few months after that incident, I received a call from my sister who is here in Hong Kong and asked me, "do you still want to go abroad?" I quickly answered her "yes!". I thought, finally, God's help was on its way.

I saw nothing from my salary in my first contract. I paid the lost money to my sister-in-law. I went through financial crisis and always trying to keep both ends meet. In my trying times, I found Uplifters. And my whole life was changed.

Sometimes life teaches us a lesson the hard way but always remember that God is in control. Just trust in His ways. His love and guidance comes in different forms, look for the silver linings behind the dark clouds. Some of them are our friends, some of them are strangers but willing to lift you up, they are the Uplifters. 😊

Much love and God bless! 🙏💗