Gina is a Filipino immigrant who has been actively working as a caregiver for 13 years. She works 12 hours a day in a care home. She shares some of her experiences:
“When I came here, I was so ignorant. I don’t know, I thought I got scammed because the houses are low and not high. [I thought] this might not be America. Why are there no buildings? The person that was supposed to pick me up didn’t come. They didn’t wait because my flight was delayed. They didn’t give me instructions and I have no more loads, I also didn’t know that I can’t text when I’m already here in the US.“
“I was a caregiver when I arrived here but I don’t know what the work will be. At first, I didn’t know my work. I requested to work with elderly, I only watch elderly, [but] I don’t know what Dementia, Alzheimers… the only thing I know is that, they don’t want me to take care of patients because I don’t know English. I don’t know anything, even appliances, they won’t let me touch or use them because I don’t know how, so I just observe and I don’t cook. I just sweep there. I think it took maybe one and half months before they let me take care of the patients.“
“So even if the patients are heavy, they don’t go to sleep at night, you need to be there and awake. Even our sleeping arrangement, we don’t have a room and you can find your own spot, but if the patients are there, you also need to be there. So you find your own spot to sleep.“
One factor which made a significant impact on her work was the rising cost of transportation. Given that Uber was increasing its transportation fare, it was becoming more expensive (as well as risky) to be using it to commute to work.
“The story was, when I was picking up garbage, there was a guy in the street that had a flat tire. Then I helped him. When I was helping him, he introduced himself and said that he helps send people to anywhere they want. But the payment is expensive. He gave me his calling card. I ignored it at first, because I was thinking, I’m not qualified here and I don’t have money, but also this is United States, I didn’t graduate from college. But there are times that life is getting tough.“
Photo Credit: Kirsten Jill Aguilar