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.
It wasn’t often that Rodelyn saw her father cry.
He was a chief mechanic at a company in the Philippines, and worked very hard to provide for his ten children. Even though he was well past retirement age Rodelyn’s dad continued to work, and the night he came home in tears was the night all that work finally caught up on him.
“He said he is tired and wants to have a rest, that he couldn’t do it anymore”, says Rodelyn.
The realisation that the man who had taken care of the family was now the one that needed taking care of, was the start of Rodelyn’s journey to becoming a nanny in Dubai. With the help of her eldest sister Noreen, who had already been working as a nanny in Dubai for many years, Rodelyn packed her bags and made her first trip outside of the Philippines, telling her father that she would work, so that he did not have to. Once in Dubai Noreen helped Rodelyn search for work and within the month Rodelyn had found a job with an ex-pat family.
Rodelyn has now been in Dubai just over a year and loves her job, particularly the relationship she has with her employers. Before coming to Dubai she had heard enough negative stories of nanny’s and domestic workers being mistreated to make her worried, but those fears have been well and truly left behind.
With the help of her employers, Rodelyn is also putting together a solid two-year financial plan, so the money she earns in Dubai can make the biggest difference back home.
The story behind the soles
Rodelyns shoes are a montage of the most meaningful parts of her life.
The picture on the front of the right foot is a representation of the hero’s monument in Manila, combined with the colours and symbols of the Philippine flag. Her favourite bible verse, Psalm 56:3, is written as a reminder of where she puts her trust when she is afraid, and the words “Hope, Love, Family, Strength, Believe, Faith” are all the things she holds onto the tightest.
The left shoe is dedicated to her life here in Dubai, and includes a little representation of her Dubai family, the colours of the U.A.E flag, and camels crossing the desert. Her favourite quote about love represents the pain of separation from her family but also the bond she has formed with the family she now works for.