The tyranny of the COVID-19 pandemic continues around the world. Our fellow Kabayans in Kuwait is not an exemption to the overwhelming effects we experience because of it. However, within the chaos lies a blessing in disguise throughout the Filipino community. It is the birth of the “Pinoy Kuwait Barter” established and led by a 36-year-old receptionist, Frenel Parcia, also called “Fhrenz.”
After being terminated at work at the Yiaco Medical Center in Kuwait due to the pandemic, she started the online barter in hopes of helping our fellow kababayans. According to her, it began on a random day during the quarantine period. She saw a distressed father searching for food. On the way the man looks, he is in dire need of essential commodities considering the “No Work, No Pay” situation that everyone is struggling with. Deep in her heart, she wants to help him, but she could not because she does not have enough funds.
Since March, her husband has been affected by the suspension of work as a precautionary measure against COVID-19. Being a mother of two children, work and funds are crucial to ensure their survival. Everyone is facing their own struggles to survive in this period of health and financial crisis. As a result, she founded a barter community in the online platform to support her fellow kababayans.
What differs in her “Pinoy Kuwait Barter” community is that exchanging goods happens without cash transactions. Through online means, its group members can swap items with each other. Frenel’s primary goal in this community is to teach and inspire other OFWs. The community represents an excellent example to everyone that good deeds are done no matter how small or big. Every exerted effort is a big step forward in preserving the welfare of our kababayans.
Frenel further added that plenty of barter communities are present all over the world. Pinoy Kuwait Barter is not the first barter group within the region. However, it increased because there are less implemented restrictions. The group’s administrators and moderators always ensure everyone that every member is treated as a family to assist them in acquiring their basic survival needs. Until the current date, the community grew up to more than 10,000 members. Since its first day, it has aided thousands of OFWs through the bartering of goods.
One of its members, Mayla Rose Mago, a 38-year-old administrative officer, shared her experience as a member of the community. According to her post, she only exchanges goods based on the other barter client needs. However, she changed her way of swapping in the community. She started bartering her expensive items for a single diaper or a pack of milk. Her kind of bartering became a good example as it is the only way of supporting each other within the group.
She currently does not have an infant. However, she accepts many baby essential goods because it is the best way to help other families’ infants. Up to the current day, many people faced the “No Work, No pay” situation, especially in the lockdown area. One factor that makes the situation more difficult is because many of our kababayans do not have other kapamilya that they can depend on.
The Pinoy Kuwait Barter group represents the humanitarian efforts within us mixed with a splash of creativity. Engaging in these cashless transactions puts great value in our everyday items and needs. As long as we have something that we owned, we can participate in this online barter.
For my kababayans out there who struggle in their needs, you can always choose to join the community to avail of your needs. In this crisis, it is great to know that we can depend on our other kababayans who are prepared to help one another. These inspiring deeds will improve the overall well-being of the community of Filipinos in the region.
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