Why I blog

Thanks so much for reading my blog. As you have read, the blog tells the fictional story of Sally, a housemaid in Dubai. It is the story of her struggles, her sacrifices, and her relationships. I wanted to give the migrant worker a voice. I wanted people to see the world through their eyes; to understand what it is like to leave your family and children back home, to come to an unknown home in an unknown land, and to look after someone else's children when your heart is pining for your own child. I wanted to do all that, while giving the reader a glimpse into this unique and unusual relationship of the housemaid and her maam.

But mostly, I wanted to give readers hope that it is possible to do something big in your life, no matter how small you may think you are. That you do not need to speak good English, or have a college degree to make the world listen to what you had to say.

I wanted to do a lot, as you can see. I could have written a boring piece in the third person on the life of OFWs. But I did not. My objective was to get the reader hooked and come back for more, because there were so many stories to tell. I knew I had to come up with a way to write this story that would be be informative, but entertaining and fun as well. It had to be interesting or no one would want to read it. I knew I had to give the reader everyday characters that they could identify with. So I created Sally and her maam, neither of whom are absolutely perfect, each with their own quirks and idiosyncracies. They both come from completely different backgrounds yet they have to live together and get along (mostly) to make this relationship a success.

Where do I get my stories from? Some of the events of Sally’s story are obviously inspired by real life events, by my conversations with maids, maams, drivers, anyone who was willing to talk to me. Some of the stories come from what I would read in the newspapers. The rest of it, her personality and what she is thinking, and all the characters, are completely fictional. 

Before I sign off there are a couple of things that are on my mind, and this seems as good a forum as any to bring them up. First, why did I chose to give her this voice? With the broken English. It made the blog so much harder to write (the lack of any punctuation made every story harder to narrate) and harder to read. I guess I really wanted people to be intrigued by Sally's character. I wanted the blog to have an element of mystery, that kept people coming back for more. And I wanted to give my readers a protagonist, this girl Sally, who had limited education, but a mind that could inspire. Did it work? At this point, I can only speculate, that the blog would not have gained these high readership numbers, had she had perfect grammar and perfect punctuation. But that is just speculation.

Second, I'd like to point out that there are a lot of employers who are very good to their household help, who treat them like family and who have a wonderful relationship with their helpers. Likewise there are also housemaids who are dishonest, who steal and lie, who run away, or cause other kinds of trouble. And vice versa. People have different experiences and those experiences help form their opinions. Not all employers are like Sally's maam and not all housemaids are like Sally. The blog does not attempt to make generalisations about housemaids and their employers, but hopefully, attempts to give the reader another point of view, another perspective, another voice. At the end of the day, it is a fictional blog and should be read with that in mind.

Thanks again for your interest. I hope you continue to read my blog.

Edited to add- I recently had a change of circumstances which resulted in my family having to leave Dubai. I chose to continue writing the blog even though I am no longer based in Dubai. I feel that if Dubaisally has been an inspiration to even a handful of people, that's a handful more than what I started out with. If she has opened the eyes of even two or three people about the life of an OFW, that's two or three people more than what I started out with. And that is what keeps me going when I write the blog.