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[ soles & stories JRDN ] Gemma

First impressions count for a lot and Gemma uses one simple word to describe her first impression of Jordan – cold.

The climate in Amman is definitely quite different to Gemma’s tropical home province in the Philippines, but having now spent four years working as a domestic helper in Amman; Gemma is a little bit more comfortable with the chillier temperatures.

Her journey to Jordan had one warmer chapter, with Gemma spending two years working in Dubai. When that contract finished she traveled back home for a small holiday with her children, and then boarded a plane for a new employment opportunity in Amman.

Gemma has three children, Jessie, Christine-Joy and Abagail, and she quickly switches to proud mother mode when discussing them. She calls Jessie a typical boy, loving sports, particularly basketball, while both Christine-Joy and Abagail love dancing, especially modern dance and ballet. It was an incredibly hard decision for Gemma to leave her children, but while she works in Amman they are taken care of by her sister, and Gemma is thankful they are being well looked after while she is away from home.

Being separated from her children is of course the necessary drawback to working overseas, but being able to provide a better quality of life for them is Gemma’s motivation to carry on working. Her long-term plans beyond putting her children through school is to save enough money to open a small business when she one day returns home.

Home might be a long way away but Gemma manages to stay connected with her children through skype, relishing every opportunity to catch up on their news and be involved in their daily lives, even if she can’t be there in person.

The opportunity for a holiday will hopefully be realized this year and Gemma’s face lights up at the idea of spending time with her children after four years of work in Jordan.