A group of Indonesian domestic helpers got tired of spending their days off wandering in parks or sitting underneath footbridges, exposed to the heat and pollution.
So they decided to rent a village house in Tan Kwai Tsuen in Yuen Long, and turned into a holiday haven where they can rest, relax and recharge their energies for another week of work, hk01.com reports.
Fitri and Solesih said the modest house, which is only about 100 square feet with very basic equipment and appliances, is one they can call their home one day each week.
The two, who have been working overseas for nearly two decades, said domestics must learn how to live with loneliness.
It is a hard job, but they prefer working abroad than staying in their home town, where salaries are not enough for them to support their children’s education and build a house for their family.
There are many cases of domestic helpers who end up with broken homes because of their overseas work, such as when their husbands leave them or their children fail to cope with life without the guidance of their mothers.
But Fitri and Solesih are thankful their children turned out to be fine.
Solesih said her son is now a pharmacist while her daughter is a medical assistant.
Fitri said her ten-room residence has just been completed, and even her employer voiced envy upon seeing her house during a leisure trip to Indonesia.
Back in their holiday house in Tan Kwai Tsuen, Fitri said she and her five friends rented the place for HK$850 a month, which meant each of them had to chip in around HK$140.
That’s not so expensive, considering that it has air-conditioning, a fridge, a stove and other appliances.
They mostly work in Tsing Yi and Tsuen Wan and would gather in the house to sleep, sing and cook, until it is time for them to return to their employer’s home.
In fact, it is cheaper to spend their holiday inside their rented house.
“If each of us contributes HK$100, we can whip up a grand dinner,” Fitri said.
They usually prepare Indonesian cuisine. They lay out the dishes, which are good for about 20 people, on the floor and sit around them for a night of delicious food, stories and laughter.
“Eating out is simply too expensive in Hong Kong, around two to four times more costly than if we cook our own food,” Solesih said.
“We did not know each other very well before our regular gatherings here, but now we feel like members of a family.”
Last month a No. 3 alarm fire broke out not far from their house, razing a row of tin and wooden structures. No casualties were reported, however.
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