Melvic Martinez worked at a factory in Taoyuan County, Taiwan, from 2013 until 2016. During that time, he volunteered with the EAG (Educational and Assistance Group) and served Sunday mass in our Lectors and Commentators program. Melvic is also a past president of the PPC (Parish Pastoral Council). Melvic has written about his experience as a migrant worker in Taiwan as part of the documentary series, “The Migrant Worker’s Face.”

By Melvic Martinez
Edited by Hannes Zetzsche

Working in Taiwan for the first time was a bitter-sweet experience for me.

There were definite challenges. I struggled at first to understand Mandarin, but learning became fun as I saw that I naturally grasped the language’s basics terms throughout the steps in everyday life.

During the experience, I was tired after every day of work, but I was reminded that the experience as a whole was worthwhile on every 5th or 8th day of the month when I received my prize. During these challenging months, it was the promise of a paycheck that I could send home to my family at the beginning of the next month that helped me to continue.

Homesickness struck once in a while, but I was lucky to find a concrete home where I could sleep and I was blessed to find the Hope Workers’ Center, a spiritual home where I could serve and be nourished.

The three-year contract of work to which I had committed myself in Taiwan seemed a long time at first. But when the time came for me to leave, I realized that the sweet hello I gave to my family and friends in the Philippines coincided with a bitter goodbye to those I had left in Taiwan.

Thank you, Hope Workers’ Center, for being a place where I felt safe and secured.

This reflection by Melvic Martinez has been published by the Hope Workers’ Center as an entry to “The Migrant Worker’s Face” documenting project. The Hope Workers’ Center continues to seek stories like Melvic’s so that we can add detail to migrants’ intricate face. There are two ways that you can help us. If you are a migrant worker and would be willing to share your story, we want to hear from you directly! You can read instructions about how to participate here. If you are not a migrant worker, then we ask you to continue supporting our project: read our stories weekly and invite others to do the same.

The Hope Workers’ Center is dedicated to supporting migrant workers in our community. Through this project, we hope to appreciate the beauty of each person’s life while fostering recognition among a wider audience of the struggles that migrants regularly encounter in their work. Thank you for your support!