LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – A homecoming.

Not only did the Benguet State University (BSU) celebrate its 24th year it also welcomed back a special alumna.

Click here for stories and updates on the Sinulog 2010 Festival.

In simple rites the BSU held a Gender And Development (GAD) co-sponsored book launching of Nanny Tales: Voices from a Diary of an Overseas Filipina Worker,” with author Analyn Aryo.

The author is a native of the La Trinidad who took up Agriculture at BSU and worked as a layout artist at the Agriculture and FIsheries Information Section of the Department of Agriculture-Cordillera Administrative Region before she decided to work overseas. “When you become a DH, manliliit ka sa sarili mo e, makakalimutan mong edukada ka…it’s really a struggle finding yourself again,” she said.

In 2005, Aryo went to Hong Kong to work as domestic helper to help her family put food on the table.

Despite her new calling, Aryo continued writing and won the first place for an editorial she wrote for the SUN Newspaper of Hong Kong.

Aryo said the book was first conceptualized in Hong Kong four years ago, the book is a collection of stories and poems from her personal experiences, and from the experiences of many other domestic helpers in the country.

Nanny Tales, she said “is like a peep into the diaries of domestic helpers. It could be read similar to that of hearing a gossip or a story from a friend.”

Aryo’s writing was first made into a screen play on June 2007, this collection of stories was performed at the Fringe Theater in Central Hong Kong, and was entitled “Migrant Collective.”

Aryo said for most domestic helper Hong Kong is a stepping stone to go to Canada.

In Canada, they are all after being a live-in caregiver so that after twenty-four months, they would be eligible to apply for permanent residency. “Sa Canada, it’s the PR and the citizenship, it’s your hope to improve your life and your family’s.” Once residing there permanently, one could then sponsor his/her family.

She compares the adventure of being a domestic helper to harvesting a pinit; a wild berry growing abundantly in thickets from her home town here.

The pinit is a thorny plant, she said, and reaching out for the sweetest fruit would not leave you unscathed. In her book she wrote,

“There are a lot of horror stories in working as a DH on a foreign land which I chose not to write about in this book…I chose to write about the small and subtle victories of self-discovery, choices, wisdom, and strength  these women learned and found from their situations,” she said.

The book, she said, took about a year to write but the stories and experiences were five years in the making with the help of Betty Listino, a fellow alumna was the one who encouraged her to write a book about her experiences. Listino published the book under Reseachmate, Incorporated.

On the 15th, Aryo will be travelling back to Ontario, Canada where she now resides and works as a professional nanny.