Soles & Stories saw nine Dubai based nannies/domestic workers shaking their creative bones and transforming some blank TOMS shoes into artworks inspired by their own journeys.
The nine shoe artists shared their personal stories, the joy and the pain of the journeys that brought them to today, and their hopes for where their journeys will take them tomorrow and beyond.
Here is Rodelyn, her story and her soles.
Leaving the familiarity of home and the comfort of everything she knew to work overseas was a massive step for Gloria. The uncertainty of making such a big move, magnified by the uncertainty of her work situation when arriving in the United Arab Emirates is something she remembers well, and thankfully something she has not had to experience again in her nine years in Dubai.
Since her move here in 2003 Gloria has worked as a nanny for the same family, helping care for three children, and over such a long period of time she has in a way, become part of that family herself. It’s been nine years of watching the children do a lot of learning and a lot of growing, it’s also nine years of being away from her only daughter Rebecca, who is twelve years old and living back in the Philippines with Gloria’s mother.
Gloria shyly admits to being a sensitive person and shares a few tears when talking about Rebecca and the struggles that their separation brings. But she also understands the difference that her job in Dubai makes and the positives that the distance allows, like Rebecca being able to attend, and do really well in school.
A temperamental Internet connection in the Philippines doesn’t make skype the most reliable means of contact but Gloria and Rebecca manage to talk on the phone often, something that Gloria looks forward to each week.
Living away from family can be a lonely existence, and Gloria has managed to fill the hole a little, making friends with other nannies who live and work in the same community. They often spend their days off together and Gloria even called on one of her friends to help her out decorating her shoes.
The story behind the soles
Glorias shoes are a tribute to all mothers, the sacrifices they make for their children and the qualities it takes to be a good parent.
The purple flower on the right shoe is a gift to great mothers and is surrounded by words that Gloria associates with being a good mother.
The left shoe is a little more specific to her own story and on the heel you will see the date that Gloria left the Philippines. Her journey is depicted through the plane and the new chapter of her life in Dubai is seen through the national flag and the camels crossing the desert.