Sep 29, 2011

The maid is free

Yesterday maam is getting call on her mobile. Her friend Maam K is having big dinner on Saturday and she want to invite maam and sir. Maam say yes they go for dinner. Then maam say no I am sorry but my maid is not free to come and help. She has to look after children.

I know Maam just use children for excuse for not taking me. She not taking me like this anywhere to do work. even if I do not have to stay home with children. She not liking all this. She say that maid is suppose to work only at sponsor house. She worry that she might get fine if I work somewhere else. Any time her friend say is your maid free maam is always say no. for this reason.

Few week back in newspaper I am reading that there is so big fine if they catching maid doing illegal part time work. Maam is also seeing this. She say see Sally that is why I get worry when you go out without tell me. Because I worry you doing like this part time illegal work. Like maybe some ironing. Or some cleaning. I not want you to do that because see how big fine is.

But some part time work is ok. Not illegal. Like in next door house. they have no full time maid. Only part time. She comes from agency. She comes two or three times in week. Lot of people is do like this if they not want to have maid live in the house. Then they are able to use the maid room as store room. For their bags or something.

Every time I am seeing this same girl coming. She bringing mop and broom and vacum and all cleaning thing and going in next door house. Then after three or four hour she waiting outside house for her car lift. Always waiting 20 minutes. sometimes waiting 30 minutes. in sun. On Monday when she is waiting I am going outside to talk to her. First time.

Her name is Rosalie. I ask her how is it to work in agency. She say she starting work at 8 in morning and finish at 8 in night. Full day cleaning. or ironing. or washing clothes. Every house is different thing. But she busy full time because the maam is pay for her by hourly rate. Her only free time is when she eat lunch and when she waiting for her car lift. In the sun. That why she not mind waiting in the sun. Because she having little bit rest and free time.

Every job is pay her 30 dirham for one hour. I am thinking she getting so much money every month. Like 6000 or 8000 dirham? Even I want to do this work. Then she say that all her money go to her agency. Then agency is pay her fix salary. It very low. And from that she having to buy her things. accomdation and bus and food and clothes. Then send home what she have left maybe 200 or 300 dirham. Now I do not want to do this work. So much hard work. so little bit rest time. And so little bit money in the end. I think my situation is better.

Now I tell you my situation. This is how my salary get fix. At this maam house my salary is correct. But before this it not so good. When I apply to come here from Philippines the agency is telling me that my salary be 1500. When I come here agency make me sign contract with my before maam. My before maam say sign quick sign quick. So I just sign quick and not read contract. I make big mistake. when I get first salary she give me only 800. I am so much shock. I tell my before maam how this can be? Agency tell me I get 1500. She say Sally it in your contract. You sign contract at agency. She tell me Sally you work hard I increase your salary. After 6 month she make my salary 900.

It very low but I think at least I am getting salary every month. At least they not beat me or burn me. or like I am seeing in paper yesterday shave all my hair. Really.So bad this is. Anyway because my before maam and sir is not do any of these bad thing I keep quiet. And 900 dirham in peso is still lot of money.

This maam coming new to Dubai. When she transfer my visa from my before maam she just fix my salary for 1200. She not knowing that Philippine goverment is fix minimum salary for all housemaid coming to Dubai. My before maam not say anything to my new maam. Even I feel shy to tell her. In her mind she think Sally salary is 900 I give her more. So she feeling like she doing good thing. Then one day she is reading in paper or somewhere about this minimum salary. So when she renew my contract she make it correct. 

Like this lot of country is fixing salary for maid coming in Dubai. Like if you are maid from India your salary is fix for 1100. And some girl from some country is get 650. too less. I am happy I am from Philippine because maid from my country get more high salary than other country. Why some country girl is getting so less and some is getting more? All housemaid is do same hard work.

House maid work is so much hard work that no maam is want to do this work  That why they get maid to do the work.They not realise that maid is doing so much work until sometimes when maid is leaving and they have to do all the work. They just want work done properly. but they not want to pay properly.

When maam is finding villa last year she is always talking on phone. I am always hearing her. Four bedroom plus maid. Three bedroom plus maid. I know they talk about maid room but I am always thinking it sound like if you buy the villa the maid is free. Buy villa get maid free. Villa plus maid.

But maid is not free. And housemaid work is not free work. That why I happy when maam tell Maam K and all her friend that Sally is not free to work at your house. Only maam and sir will go for dinner. Not maam and sir plus maid.

Sep 23, 2011

one year old

Today my blog story is one year old. When I think of writing this story I never think that so many people will want to read my words. Because usually no one cares about the life of a house maid. Because for some people she is just a thing that people is having in their life to do work.

I want people to understand that maid is also a person. That she is thinking and has feelings. and she miss her home and her family so much. But she has to leave home to support her family. I hope my blog makes people realise all these things. and that it does not matter how you speak. It does not matter how poor you are. It does not matter how educated you are. If you have something important to say you must say it. And people will read. people will listen.

So I want to say thank you. For reading. And for listening to Sallys heart.

Happy Birthday to me.

Sep 21, 2011

strong

Today when I wake up in morning my stomach is paining. I am asking maam for vicks. She is laugh and say Sally your stomach pain not go if you put vicks on it. she give me pink pepto to eat. Maam always having some medicine ready to give me. Panadol. Pink pepto. She not doctor but she always ready with some medicine.

But I not wanting to eat pink pepto. I want to put vicks. My grandmother always put vicks on my stomach when it paining. I miss my vicks. I miss my family. I start crying. Maam tell me Sally what is this why you crying? If you want when I go out I buy for you vicks. She say Sally I not like all this crying for silly thing. You must have control. You must be strong.

I understand. But I not like that she tell me this. I am crying because I am missing my family. But I know I am strong. I have left my family to come here to work. If I am not strong how I am able to do this? Before I go to my Oman sir I am never even seeing plane. Now I am flying on plane. Now I am so far away from my home. If I am not strong how I am able to lift the responsibility of my full family?

This word strong is make me think. How we use in so many way. See my brother or Richie. Their body is so much strong than me. They can pick up so many heavy thing. But they not lifting up any responsibility of family. They not lifting up the family. so for them maybe the body is strong but they are weak.

Then I am thinking how this can happen? How my brother can be so strong but still so weak? I remember sirs father is always wanting strong tea. To make strong tea you have to make it very hot. Then you have to cover and let it sit for long time. But you have to be careful. If you boil little bit too long it is not good. it become bitter. I think some people is like this strong tea. When they have lot of problem they have to become strong. There is no easy solution like medicine. They have to wait and be patient for solution. But they need to control. Just right strong and just right patient. So they do not become bitter tea.

I think you become strong when you have no choice. Matira ang matibay. Only the strong will last. I have no choice. I have to be strong. Otherwise I cannot last.

Sep 18, 2011

lucky dog

Today I am reading in paper about this hotel for dogs in Dubai. This is for when the owner goes on vacation. I am very happy for the dogs. But sad for the housemaid. See even a dog is luckier than a maid. I tell you why.

When owner goes on vacation the dog can stay in this fancy hotel. The dog gets a beautiful room with a tv and garden and gym. and everyone take care of the dog. But when the owner of the house maid goes on vacation the maid has to stay in her room. Sometimes if the maam is going away long time then the house maid stays at another maams house. Sometimes the maam is take maid on vacation. But it not really vacation because the maid is still doing all the work. Only in different place. And no one is take care of housemaid on vacation. She have to still take care of everything. She have to look after children and do all the work she do at home.

So none of this is vacation for maid. She still have to do her work. If she at her own maams house maybe she can be little bit lazy. but she still have to clean everything before the maam come home. And if she is at the other maams house where she is staying she have to work extra. Because if other maam complain to her maam then her maam get upset. And that not good.

Even the floor of this hotel is very clean so the dog will not get germs. The noise is also kept low for dog to be able to relax. No one care about all that for house maid. In my oman sir house in my room one time there is leak from bathroom upstair. The full wall and ceiling is get wet and then all black. It look so bad. My oman sir is have full house painted but no one is painting my room and remove the black thing on my wall. Because it just the maid room.

When I go shopping I see special bed for dog in pet store. It look so comfortable. Not like house maid bed. Actually my bed in this house is nice. It use to be the bed of Sara but she is getting other bed. so now it is my bed. But it good quality and good size. But some of my friend their bed is so bad quality. And so small. One of my friend Rina is also having bed that the child is using. But it a small child bed. Like when the child is 2 or 3. Imagine it so small. No one is caring how the maid is sleeping. No one is caring whether the maid is comfortable.

One thing I am happy that I do not have in this house when my maam go on vacation. At the dog hotel they can see on video everything the dog is doing. Imagine if I having that in the house when maam going away. No no that is not good. that is one thing I am not wanting in this house. But I know that some maid is having this spy video in their life. Everyday. Not only when the maam is going on vacation.

The hotel is giving the dog fancy hotel food. Housemaid does not get fancy hotel food. This maam of mine never take me to hotel or restarant with children. She always leaving me at home. And I not mind it. because when I go out with the maam and sir I feel funny. Like we are part of family but different. not really part of family. I give you example. 

At my before sir house when we going this is what happen. My before maam is make me sit at another table for eating. Sometime with children. Sometime by myself. If there no other table then I have to sit on one corner. separate from family. then she is order for me a child meal. Or give me little from her plate and from sir plate. One time she taking me on friday for brunch. Friday is my holiday but she tell me one time Sally you not go on Friday I need you to come and watch children. We go to one very nice hotel. Full time I am sitting on a small child chair on one side. Or I am running with children. Children doing face painting. children playing. children eating. I am only watching children. All the maam and sir and children they eat lunch and drink lots. Full time I am waiting for my lunch but I am not getting even water. Maam tell me that her friend is pay for their food so she not want her friend to spend money on me. We reach home at 4 in afternoon. Then I eat my lunch quickly before I take children to park so maam and sir can sleep. That how it is for house maid.

The dogs have better bed. better room. better vacation. better food. than maid. I am happy for dog but sad for housemaid. That why the dog is lucky. Because even a dog has a better life than the house maid. 

Sep 16, 2011

salt and pepper

Yesterday when children is at school maam is going shopping. She coming back and saying Sally see what I bring. it so cute. She take out salt and pepper shaker thing. The salt is a man. The pepper is a woman. The man is dress in white. The woman is black. I am thinking that who make this is so clever. The man is like salt. Not very tasty but without salt it is hard to make food. The woman is like pepper. She is little spicy and make your food have more taste.

I tell maam my story. Maam say Sally sometime you amaze me that you are thinking like this. What maam is thinking? That I have no mind. That I not think. My mind is all the time moving. I look at flower and I think of a story. I look at the bird and I think of a story. You know. You are reading my blog. You know I am all the time thinking.

Now I am thinking why over here in dubai the man is wearing white and girl is wearing black? Why not girl wear white and the man wear black? I ask maam if she knowing. maam saying Sally I not know all this thing but maybe because in old days the man is going out in desert sun so he have to wear white to be cool? Maybe the black dress is protect the girls skin from the sun? Then she say something interesting. She say Sally maybe black is hide the shape of the woman. Maam then say Sally if you find out you tell me. So if anyone is knowing please tell me so I can tell my maam.

Yesterday I am reading something in newspaper. In Saudi all the wife is saying no to bring maid from Morocco. Filipina maid is not allow to go in saudi since few month. But all the wifes they are not wanting to do house work. so they having to find new country to bring maid from. But they not want house maid from Morocco because they think the girls from Morocco is too good looking. They are worry about the husband. They worry the maid do some magic on the husband. They are worry that the Moroccan girl is too spicy for the house.

First I am thinking this. Why they worry? They just have to put abaya and nikab on her and cover her in black. Then even if she is spicy like pepper no one is knowing. But then I think more. even if she is all cover up in black she can still do her magic.

See why it important to always be thinking? When I think more I realise that it is not only black and white. Because if you are like pepper or if you are like salt what you wear does not matter. Soon every one will get a taste.

Sep 15, 2011

clean garbage

Yesterday maam is remove plastic garbage bag from the bin. I do not know why she do that but sometime she like to check how I am doing my work. She look inside and tell me Sally what is this? Why the garbage bin is so dirty? I tell her maam that is because it is garbage. Maam say sally how many time I tell you that even if it garbage you have to keep it clean?

Actually she tell me this for everything in kitchen. Keep clean keep clean. Because she so scare that if thing is dirty everyone will be sick. all the time she make children use sanitiser to clean hand. All the time making me wipe the handle of door with dettol.

But I not understand why she want the garbage bin to be clean. No one is eating from it. Only I throw garbage in. and throw garbage out. What the use of keeping it clean? Why she wanting me to do so much more work I am not knowing.

But she is my maam so  I have to do what she say. I take bin out and wash it with hose. Then I put it in sun to dry. Then I bring it back in. Now it is a clean garbage bin. Maam is happy because it is clean but I want to laugh. Because garbage is still garbage even inside a clean bin. But for maam it is now clean garbage.

Now I am thinking of one girl Melody that I know in my home country. When I am young maybe eight or nine Melody is living in the house at backside of my house. Her family is very poor. She is so beautiful and she is nice girl also. She is older than me but she always talk to me. I always want to be beautiful like her. But even with her beauty she have sad story. When she is 15 she having to go to Japan for OPA work to help her family. We calling her Japayuki. My grandmother is tell me no talk to Melody when she come back. She not clean girl.

When I am young I am not understand what this mean. My grandmother is explain to me that OPA is oversea performing artist. Sometime it is good work but what work Melody is doing it not good work. It not very clean work. But lot of girl is do OPA work like Melody to help their family. Because they have no choice.

My grandmother tell me Sally you do any job but no do OPA job like Melody. But I not ever having to worry. I am not beautiful. You can only be OPA if you are beautiful. But if you are OPA your work is not always beautiful.

When Melody come back she is 18. She is still a nice girl but my grandmother say that her work is make her dirty. She say Sally no talk to Melody. My mother also say Sally no be friend with Melody. All the other neighbour is also not talk to her or be friend with her. I feeling sad for her but I am so young I have to respect my grandmother and mother what they say.

Melody now working near Manila. She doing good job in clothes factory. But my grandmother and neighbour still say she not clean girl. Even if she change her life and do new job she can never remove her old life as OPA.

Today I am thinking of Melody because of this garbage bin. See how life is. Inside a clean bin even the garbage feels clean. But poor Melody. Even when she change her job and do clean work she can never be clean. That why it so important to never do job that make you become garbage.

Sep 9, 2011

better life

Last week maam is taking children to mall buy new bag and new lunch box. She saying Sally I always buying new thing for them for new school year. I am thinking why she buying everything new? Old thing is also still looking nice. But then I am keeping quiet. Because I know that when children getting new thing all the old thing is coming to me. to send in my box. For my son. It is simple. Children getting better things means I can give my son better things also. And make his life little better.

When maam is going to mall she is wearing dress. I am telling her maam you be careful no one is take picture of your panty. Maam is saying Sally what you talking? Who is going to see my panty? I am telling her what I read in paper few week ago. Maam is also seeing same paper. but she not reading this story.

There is this man who is get arrest for looking at girls panty in carefour. Really. He having his phone in a shopping basket and when he seeing girl in skirt he put basket down next to her and take video of her panty. How he get this idea I am not knowing. Then I am thinking it so sad that he having to do so much trouble just to see girl in panty? It not correct what he do but maybe he so frustrate and that why he is doing this bad thing? I explain.

Lot of men is coming here to work from so many country. Lot of girl is also coming here but it different for girl. Because girl is have more control than man. These men are doing job here. Full day they work. They not allow to have girlfriend here. If they having girlfriend and they get caught then straight arrest. These men not going back home for so many years. They having no choice. they have to only do work  work work. To send money to home. some of them not seeing their wife for so many years. So like this  they are getting frustrate. Because they not able to have a woman. So they not think. they do stupid thing like this panty man. And then they get arrest and go to jail.

I hope my son when he grow big he is not come to this country to work. Because I not want him to do something stupid like this. I not want him to get frustrate because he does not have a woman. I not want him to get frustrate with his life. I want a better life. For him. And for me.