My name is Barbara and I’m from Cameroon and I live with my three-year-old son Bryan in Sharjah. I work in fashion retail, but the mall was closed mid-March, so I stopped working and getting a salary. We have been managing ever since, but it has been very, very rough.

Bryan is a bit naughty, but a lovely boy. He understands. He always wants to see me happy. If he were awake now, he would ask me, ‘mummy, why are you crying?’ He would tell me, ‘mummy, everything will be ok, mummy smile!’.
He is my inspiration.

That is why I hang onto him, why I don’t want to let him go back home. Until he will start school, at least I will have the joy of being with him.

I came here for greener pastures in 2009, to help my family, especially my mum, who has been sick. I met my husband here and we got married, but things have not been so good. He had some visa issues and almost two years ago he had to go back home to Nigeria. He cannot come back to the UAE now, and cannot send anything at all. In fact, sometimes we have to support him since he couldn’t find a job back home.

I now work for three days a week with a 50% pay cut. I owe two months rent. The landlord is very nice; he asked me if I have any money to give him, he would really appreciate it. I worked and got some money but I cannot pay for the two months. If I don’t pay the two months pending, he cannot again keep me. I pray he remains understanding until something else comes up.

I will try to get someone to share the room with me and Bryan. It will be of great help to me. I was a bit scared of the virus. What if the person I stay with is not careful and brings the virus home?

My dream now is to go back home and set up a business. At least I can stay with my husband and take care of the baby. Also, when Bryan starts school, I really want to be there for him.