It’s Helper Appreciation Month, and to give voice to some of the amazing women and men who make incredible sacrifices to create a better future for their family back home, we begin our series of interviews by speaking to 19-year DBer and founder of DB-based Hoopla for Essentials Paula Lepore Burrough and her helper Rona.
How long have you lived in Discovery Bay and what brought you here?
Paula: I have been living in Discovery Bay since 1999. I came here because I interviewed for a position at Hong Kong International School as a science and maths teacher and got the job.
How long has your helper been with your family?
Paula: Rona started her second contract with us in January this year.
What stood out in Rona that made you decide to hire her?
Paula: She sought me out when she heard I was hiring because she knew I was into healthy living. Her friend interviewed with me but did not think she would be a good match for my lifestyle. When Rona heard, she asked her friend to recommend her to me.
Tell us something you appreciate about Rona.
Paula: She manages the entire house. I don’t have to tell her what to do, she reminds me, and with my busy life I need all the help I can get. She is not aggressive and my boys love her. She speaks to them genuinely and takes an interest in their wellbeing. By far, trusting her with our children is the most important, but I have to say that I always look forward to getting home to see what amazing recipe she has whipped up – so good!
Name a special moment that Rona has shared with your family.
Paula: Everyday is special and appreciated. I have a hard time thinking about not having her with us. I am working on a plan so that we will always be connected.
Rona Depositario has been in Hong Kong for eleven years and started working with the Burrough family in 2014. She shares what she loves about working with the Burrough family.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and where you’re from.
Rona: My name is Rona and I’m from the Philippines. I spent seven years working on Hong Kong Island before moving to Discovery Bay to work for Paula’s family. I’m going to be marking four years in DB this December.
I left the Philippines when I was 23 and have worked in Italy, the United Arab Emirates and now Hong Kong, so it’s been 20 years working abroad.
What’s one thing you like about Discovery Bay?
Rona: One thing I like about Discovery Bay is that it’s very close to nature and a peaceful place to live – especially compared to Hong Kong side. It’s nice to be able to spend my day off at a bench by the beach to recharge after a week of work.
Another great thing about DB is that, as helpers, there are a lot of opportunities for us. There are free swimming lessons, yoga lessons with the Andiappan yoga community and Zumba classes. I’m so grateful to have a chance to enjoy all these activities for free to create a work-life balance for me.
I usually spend my days off here. I can attend Sunday church right here in DB and even send money back home!
Tell us one thing you enjoy about your job.
Rona: I enjoy my job for so many reasons. The Burrough family really cares about me as a person, not because of what I can offer, but they listen to my ideas and respect them. I know they’re appreciative of me and never criticise or complain. What’s great is that they even allow me to explore in the kitchen with the recipes I come up with!
Name one thing you wish the community knew about domestic workers.
Rona: One thing I just want to say is that, personally, I am very grateful that I’m living in DB. The community is very accepting of us as domestic helpers and appreciate us for our service. It’s so great that they’ve even given us a month just for us – Helper Appreciation Month! It’s not only what we can give them, but what they can give us.
If you would like to nominate your helper to be featured in Around DB’s Celebrating DB ‘aunties’ series, email [email protected].Tags: discovery bay, helper appreciation month