I was at the Abu Dhabi International airport once, in the bathroom, when I heard the cleaner crying quietly. It was just the 2 of us and I tried to calm her down. It was so hard to understand with the language barrier, all I did understand was that her husband is leaving her. She was pointing at her ring and signing it is over. I told her I’m divorced, man gone, no ring too, now happy. I tried to tell her I’m the same and that things will get better. But I couldn’t help, or stop her from crying. I left because I had a plane to catch and I was helpless…the most yucky feeling I could ever feel.
Today, I had the most humbling experience with a whole bunch of women just like her! And I Felt Great Helping!
I went to give a mini Happyness 101 workshop at a women labour camp in Musafah in collaboration with Feel Great Helping, a non-profit organisation in Abu Dhabi. And I was able to help them even if it was in a minute way to feel happier, to hug and to create ‘happy butterflies’ or vision of their life.
I think I learned more from these women than I have taught to be honest. The average salary these women earn I’m told is around 1,200 dirhams a month, which is not even $300. Their happiness revolved around family, their kids and sending money home. What a way to put things into perspective for me.