By Dolly I. Magbitang (Social Worker-Kwartellaan-Group 2) Toronto-Canada Sat 17th December 2011
As we get closer to the end of year 2011, looking at the 2 pictures taken last month celebrating Kwartellaan 2’s 40th anniversary, and posted at the latest issue of Munting Nayon, memories of 1971 flashed back. For the 99% from the 3 groups of Berghaus Girls who went to “occupy” Amsterdam, Wehl and Ulft, that was a first of so many things: excitement of seeing another country, seeing relatives who left the previous years, and meeting new friends; being called a “working girl abroad”; earning a “salary” ; but also sadness of leaving their families.
To jog your memories, here is an old photo of the social workers. Unfortunately, unable to get any picture of Aidaje and Perla Javate L to R Terry Trijo, Mirian Catalan-Brey, Laly Noble, Precy Manuel (Wehl2 Group), Dolly I. Magbitang, and the late Dading Belarmino
L t R: Mr. Winkenius from Berghaus Ulft, Dolly Magbitang, Espie Oliveros, And the late Fr. Van Dooren
The experiences gained were “priceless”: enhancement of social and interpersonal skills, learning new culture, learning new skills, and learning about various countries through travel around several European cities.
Munting Nayon has dedicated a special section exclusively for The Berghaus Girls, and has documented all of the above mentioned significant, life-changing, priceless experiences.
L to R Alice Edano, Dolly Magbitang
Eddie Flores and his wife Orquid have been there throughout these 40 years – providing support, sharing their experiences and wisdom, demonstrating the true meaning of “Filipino hospitality” and “bayanihan”.
The skills that were learned, and the experiences that were gained became very useful tools as the 3 year contracts end- The Berghaus Girls became so marketable in the Canadian Employment area – so much so that they all had their job offers by then. All of The Berghaus Girls left The Netherlands to “occupy” Winnipeg, Toronto and Vancouver – arriving as “new Canadians” – all with new employers.
While majority started in the garment industry of Manitoba, they soon changed employers. Some of them were able to get jobs with Air Canada, Canada Taxation Office, Manitoba Hydro, and other Manitoba Government Office, University of British Columbia, hospitals, financial institutions such as Toronto Dominion Bank, Royal Bank of Canada, Canadian Imperial Bank, Ministry of Health Ontario, and City of Toronto Ontario,
Shortly thereafter, they were able to sponsor all of their family members. 99% of The Berghaus Girls got married either to their boy friends from back home, Dutch boyfriends, or Canadians.
With Dutch partners
Ulft – Wehl groups
After 40 years, a lot of them now have grown up children who are now professionals, and a few of them are now grandmothers; some of them are even enjoying early retirements
We are truly grateful to Berghaus – for giving us the opportunity to be able to work in Holland: Mr. Croonen, Father Croonen and all the management staff of the 3 Berghaus locations; we are also grateful to all of our “kababayan from the Philippine Embassy and those who were residing then in The Hague; our Dutch friends, in particular the late Mayor Paw, and family(Wehl) and Mayor Cramwinkel and family of Gemeente Gendringen.
At the Philippine Embassy-The Hague
Most importantly, to Eddie and Orquid – we truly want to express our sincerest appreciation for “being there” for us.
On behalf of my colleagues and all of the Berghaus Girls:
THANK YOU SO MUCH, MARAMING SALAMAT PO; DANK U WEL MALIGAYANG PASKO AT MANIGONG BAGONG TAON SA INYONG LAHAT !!!!!!
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