15 years ago, Lynie Porras Silao arrived in Singapore, excited and anxious about her new life working here. “Like many Filipinos,” she explained, “when you are a bit scared, the first place you go to is Church. I was also excited, but don’t know what to expect also.” Fortunate to have wonderful employers, she has seen their children then aged three and the other still in the womb, grow up and is ever devoted to the family’s well-being.
“I found out that I liked baking, when I did the course for the first time at Archdiocesan Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants & Itinerant People (ACMI), which I found from the website. And when I baked, the children really liked it, and that made me feel more confident,” she added. She eventually continued volunteering with ACMI and cultivated a richer appreciation for baking, resulting in her now being a trainer now for other domestic helpers. “I have my mentors to thank for that… It makes me happy to see how other people are benefiting from the course, and it is not just my confidence which has increased.”
Lynie early on had liked the way life was in Singapore, and grew to appreciate the culture and people more. She recounts having to hug many other elderly neighbours who greet her near the estate, and she genuinely feels at home as well. When she does return to the Philippines, she still treasures life there much, of course, acknowledging the difference can only make you appreciate others more.
When I saw that ACMI accepted not just Catholics but all sorts from other religions, I thought, oh this is very nice. It meant they didn’t look down on people.
Lynie feels that coming down on her off days on weekends to volunteer at ACMI as a baking coach has been very rewarding and gratifying: “When I saw that ACMI accepted not just Catholics but all sorts from other religions, I thought, oh this is very nice. It meant they didn’t look down on people. Then I found that whatever I learnt from ACMI, I could share and I love to share. The most rewarding experience when I teach baking is when the students come up and hug me and tell me, ‘thank you, teacher, my boss will like it… my boss’ children like it, and ask me, Auntie, can you bake some more, bake cookies or some cupcakes?’ That makes me feel so good.” Lynie notes that there are some days which simply aren’t as good: “But I keep reminding myself that I am here to volunteer to help other ladies like me… because I understand, and that I must be a good example to them.”