Mary Ann was a diminutive woman with a quiet manner and a kind face. She lived in a small room cum store in the corner of the 5 bedroom villa. Her work had been detailed to her since the day she arrived from Philippines nearly 6 months ago.
Her Madam (she dared not call her by her name) gave her curt instructions. She was to clean the entire villa every day, do the laundry and ironing and look after the little boy who was not yet going to school. She smiled at the little boy with thick curly hair peering shyly from behind his mother. He smiled back and hid his face.
“This is Youssef. You are to bathe him, dress him, feed him and keep him entertained and happy. The other maid will tell you about his likes and dislikes.”
She remembered how difficult the first few weeks had been. She would cry every night when she thought of her 5 yr old son Andres who she had left in the Philippines. Would he be able to sleep without her? She would dream that he would be calling her and when she would answer he couldn’t hear her and would keep crying for her. Her helplessness translated into her dreams.
In just a few weeks time Youssef had become very attached to Mary Ann. And vice versa. He reminded her of her son and she felt that if she loved him like her son, her son would be loved the same way.
She had left her son with her sister and come to work in the Emirates so he could have a better life. Her husband had abandoned them for another woman years ago and didn’t bother to send them any money. It was the most difficult decision she had ever made. But she was so fed up of borrowing money and always being in need that she had decided to make this sacrifice.
When she told her son of her decision he had just kept quiet. It was so strange that he hadn’t argued with her. Usually he loved to argue. Maybe he had understood. Then he looked at her with tears in his eyes and said,
“Mama are you angry with me?” Her heart ached. How could she make him understand that she was doing everything for him?
“My sweetest boy, of course not” she said her voice quivering. “But Mama wants you to go to a good school and have nice clothes and nice food. That’s why Mama has to go.”
“Is that why Papa left too?”
She always tried to avoid talking about his Papa.
“Mama will come back soon.. I promise.”
But soon would be at least 2 years. She had already signed a 2 year contract.
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