Elina woke up to the baby crying… again.
It was still dark and her employers were sleeping.
Elina knew her duties.
Walking to the kitchen she tried to calm the little girl, only warm milk would calm her.
“Little plum”, she whispered, cuddling the baby.
She longed for Mindanao… she longed for school… for mother… but they needed her money back home.
Besides, she wouldn’t be allowed to leave.
“We’ll take your passport, just to be sure”, they’d said.
As the first colors of dawn brightened the sky it was time to make breakfast… again.
Yet another day in Dubai.
First many apologies for everyone I never had time to visit before I left for vacation a couple of weeks ago. I hope I will be a lot better visiting and commenting this week. The picture for me had a deep symbolic meaning of looking back at what you left, and my thought went to all the housekeepers coming from the Philippines to the Gulf States, often working under bad conditions. Probably Elina is more a typical case than one of the worst. If you want to read a short story that partly inspired me, read Sleepy by Anton Chekhov
Friday Fictioneers is curated by Rochelle, don’t miss her story and the other you can find by clicking on the blue froggy below.
August 29, 2018
There are more tragic cases… but yes very sad.
Hard to imagine a life like this, a prison by another name.
Indeed… a gilded cage of sort…
Wow this is so powerful friend
Thank you… I love to write fiction… and hundred words is not a lot of words.
You can do all things so well I stand in awe of you
That’s what happens when you give your power to someone else. It’s always worth being impolite at times like that.
Many domestic slaves have been raped and worse… so maybe keeping a low profile is the only way.
Unfortunately fear and need can be such overwhelmingly powerful prisons
I think the need can trap many innocents into gruesome traps.
i have known stories like this…….and many worse, for sure. thanks for putting a human face on this situation, Bjorn. ihope you had a great holiday.
I think it exists in many places still….
A grim tale, Bjorn, and, sadly, a real one
Very much a real one.
Sad..this could also be about the deportation of a mother working in the U. S…
Maybe after she has been kept as domestic slave a while before being deported… If you are illegal you are quite vulnerable.
A sad situation for that poor girl indeed.
Yes… very sad…
Caught in a web, poor girl, all in pursuit of a better life.
In the long run she might get a better life (or a sibling… or…)
Such a sacrifice to provide for her family. And in such rich countries too.
This happens everywhere… and for many countries these people are a large part of the GDP.
A thought provoking story. Slavery is as old as the mountains, I do wonder why humanity can not let it go.
I think too many people benefit from slavery in reality.
Bonded labor, a harsh reality!
I think it’s very common.
People are treated so badly in many of these states – it’s verging on slavery, isn’t it? You paint this scene so well – simply but well. And the bond between nanny and baby shines through, giving your MC such softness. Nicely Done Bjorn
Thank you… there has been some quite horrific stories from that part of the world… but I think it can happen elsewhere with domestic help…. Especially if they live with you.
Very true. Modern slavery goes on all over the world, hidden away. Horrible, but true
I don’t see you often write flash fiction, Björn, so it was a treat. Although, I always love your poetry too. I like what you created here, and to hear that it is not an extreme case, but a typical one is sad. What always strikes me, is that these types of things happen in prosperous countries too where people don’t realize it’s happening right under their noses.
The problem with domestic workers is that it’s so hard to check… often you might not even see what’s being done.
A sad reality for too many.
I think it might be very common…
you said so much in so few lines – the encapsulation of flash fiction! I liked the brevity of sentences and the silences between – makes the child’s crying sound louder and the longing go deeper
Too some extent i see two children here… the crying baby and the (maybe) young nanny…
The tragedy of modern-day slavery distilled to 100 words. Well written.
I think this is what we can do with flash… distill it down to the bare minimum… and a crying baby that prevents you from sleep.
it’s a tragedy that poverty can cause this situation to happen. sad.
Sad… but also something we will need to change.
A poignant piece indeed. I have family in Dubai with a live-in helper, but she is considered to be one of the family and comes and goes as she wishes. Sadly that is not always the case.
Click to read my FriFic tale
I hope that most people do that, and I’m sure that they get a lot better service because of that…
Topical story that really nails the problems faced by these domestic workers. It is unfortunate that the Governments of these countries allow such gross violations of human rights or turn a blind eye to them. Otherwise it is a simple case of demand and supply from which both parties can benefit.
It is very hard for the government to control… if the worker had been an illegal immigrant instead she’d been faced with worse punishment than the employer… many times there are laws against it, but how should you follow up,,
Heartbreaking and too true to life…even in these “enlightened” times. Well done.
I think we can find it everywhere… and for sure not just maids from the Philippines in Middle East
Very sad. A lost childhood to look after other people’s children.
There are always some that has to do it… I wish it wouldn’t be so, but it seems to always be like this.
You tell this moving and important story in the simplest language which makes it very powerful. There’s no pretence about any of it, it’s just truth. You’re right to say (in the comments) that we must do something about it, and you’ve suited the action to the words by writing your story.
I think the first thing we can do is to acknowledge that it can happen, then we have to ways to rebalance it slightly… we still have to give options.
It’s difficult for some when this type of life is the only option for survival. Well written, Bjorn. Have a great weekend 😊
Yes.. and in some ways there are worse ways to end up…
Bjorn, a sad, but well-written tale about what is going on in secret all around the world. I remember when I first heard about modern slavery, I was so naive and thought they’d abolished slavery. What are you talking about? It’s so easy to live inside your bubble, even when you know what’s going on. I try to help those who cross my path where I am able.
Slavery in the sense that we sell people is becoming rarer, but there are new ways to keep people in chain.
Yes, and much more insidious.
I think so too
Sometimes I think we haven’t come very far as a race. Well done, Bjorn.
I think we find it hard to be compassionate too far beyond our closest…
Nice take on the prompt. Very thought provoking.
Thank you Dawn, the looking back in a mirror made me think of bleak past and a bleaker future.
What a poignant tale. You sense both her powerlessness, with her passport taken away and her family’s need, and her dedication, rising with the baby to protect the parents from the displeasure of early rising. An ode to immigrants everywhere.
I think that there is a big burden placed on a very young person.
Excellent take. Will she be allowed to leave at some point? Extremely sad to contemplate.
Thanks for suggesting the Chekov story. It’s in my queue.
I would sincerely hope that she will be able to get back… and start her own family.
I do as well!
People do what they have to do to survive. Who are we, the lucky ones, to judge? Although, I hear no judgement in this story but judgement happens.
I think we can only try imagine ourselves in the same situation…
I have heard of so many similar stories in Dubai and the middle east. What people do to earn – sacrifice their family and their own personal life!! Really sad!
I think this happens a lot… though I’ve only read about it.
“Just in case”… sounds like slavery to me.
Indeed… you shouldn’t have a nurse leaving…
I’ve heard about this, and giving all these poor people a face and a name is something we all need to not forget. We’re all far too forgiving if money is earned.
I think some might even say we are doing a good thing giving them a job…
People find excuses for everything.
Your story goes straight to the heart of how modern slavery works.Tenderly & powerfully written. Well done.
Thank you… i think stories like this has to be written in a very special tone… glad it worked for you
The untold in this shouts so loudly. Wonderfully done, the emotions so clear and strong – Elina’s care for the child while she suffers at the hands of her captors.