I’m Jojo and, like my wife, Karen, I work in hospitality in Dubai. We met in the hotel where we were both working, and have been married for two years. We are blessed with an adorable daughter, Frances, who turns one in June.
We never thought that we would have to seek help, as we both have jobs, but things did not turn out that way. We were not able to save for this situation. Since we both work in hospitality, we’ve been badly affected by Covid-19. The hotel where Karen used to work has closed; my hotel is still operational, but I have been on unpaid leave since March and I have no idea when I will go back.
My wife planned to take Frances back home to the Philippines but there were no flights and now that the flights are starting it’s hard for us to take the risk. Anyway, we do not want her to go. We can’t live without her.
Before the pandemic started, she loved going out, either to the park or the beach. We feel sad now as we can’t do that anymore. She is stuck at home watching YouTube. My wife feels guilty, as Frances’ cousins can do a lot more back home. But what would hurt us more would be if we leave her alone in the Philippines with her grandparents, that’s why as much as possible we will keep her with us.
We can’t afford to pay for our rent, so we divided our studio room into three partitions and found three people to share with us. We are just hoping that things will go back to normal but it is still far from reality so we just need to live every day until it gets better.
Stop and Help was the first group we decided to ask for help from, as it focuses on families, especially kids. I didn’t expect anything but one day I was shocked because someone rang our bell and told us we have groceries for delivery. We are so overwhelmed by what we received.
After this pandemic and once we go back to work, if there is a chance to help other people as well, we will share and help as much as we can.