not nothing

Listen in Holland Park

Listen in Holland Park


Sound by Ann

or download to listen offline

Start at the Kensington High Street entrance of Holland Park and walk towards the children’s playground.

Buses with ramp exits stop outside the Design Museum, and nearby High Street Kensington station has step-free access. There are flat paths within Holland Park.

Alternatively, listen in any family-friendly space.

This soundwalk contains discussion of physical and verbal abuse.


Sounds of Holland Park fade in.



Let’s close our eyes, and think about what you can hear.





I can hear the voice of the people speaking. The sound of the different car. The sound of the air. Yeah.


We are in Holland Park. I choose this place because this is my memorable place when I decided to run away from my employer.


And my employer now I know that they are here again. They come here again for vacation, for holiday. I know that they are here. I decided to go here because I want to see them now. I want to see them. I want to see their face, if they see me what their reaction. I want to prove to them now that I’m not nothing. I can do anything for me, and for my family.


Since I work for them, since I was in Qatar, they treat me bad. They treat me like not a human being. I don’t have time to rest, I don’t have almost time to go to the toilet. The female employer, she treated me very bad, especially her children. She’s always shouting me in a small thing that I have done wrong. She’s always shouting me, telling me that I’m mafi mok, it means ‘no mind’, kelba, it means I’m animal, stupid. It’s hard for me, but I need to sacrifice for the sake of the future of my children. I need money from them, from those employers. So I need to sacrifice.


And I remember when I was only three weeks with them, I asked my employer to bring me back on the agency. But my female employer angry with me, so much. She told me ‘If you want to go back to your agency, pay me 10,000 riyal. Then go. And if not, I will bring you into the police.’ But I don’t have ten riyal. I’m working to have money, so I don’t have ten riyal. They told me that the 10,000 riyal they paid to the agency. So, I continue my life. And then, horrible. I call to the agency, I seek help. But they only said that ‘You’re only adjusting, so continue working. Be good. Then some day, you will be ok.’ But no! The last time I called my agency, their advice is ‘Go run away from that house, and go to our office.’ But I’m so scared on the Middle East place. I feel I am in the jail, because only walls I can see.


I stay with them one year seven months in Qatar, and then July 2017 they bring me here with their eight children. The whole family, and eight children. The oldest is 18, then 16, 14, 12, nine, seven, three, and the twins is two years old. And I’m only one nanny that they’re bringing here. It’s horrible, because my female employer, she wanted me to do everything. Ironing, cleaning the house, cooking, and looking after the twins and the three-year-old girl.


Sounds of children playing.


Ann, close to tears:

I remember that place. It was a little bit new, because it was only 2017.


The last time that we are decided to go here, I need to prepare for the things that we need to bring, like the bottle of milk. She called me. She asked me why I took too long. She angry. She go back to fourth floor, with angry face, and shouting me. She told me that ‘You’re lazy. You don’t want to work. Your face always looks angry.’ And I answered her: ‘I’m not lazy. I’m just tired. I don’t have sleep. I don’t have eat. I don’t have even time to shower.’ That’s why she always look my face angry. And then while she’s still angry, she… she hit her son. One of the twins. I feel very hurt, because I considered that child as my son. And then when she saw me that I’m crying, she go with me, and then she slapped me. ‘Why are you crying?’ And then she slapped me, and then she hit me until I fall down on the floor. Then, after that, I decided. I said to myself, I’m planning to run away. But when? How?


Sounds of footsteps, people speaking, birds, children’s voices.



I remember this place. Especially in the playground.


You know when I was young, since I was young, my parents are separated. Since I’m five years old. My father, he got another family. And you know, the girl that he got is the sister of my mother. And I experience abuse from her. I didn’t experience to play like normal children. Because my father and her, and his second wife, every year they have a baby. And I’m the one to look after. So that’s why I don’t have the time to play. Yes, I’m going to school when I was seven years old. But almost I don’t want to go back home if I’m in school. Because if I’m in school I have time to play, when my break. But if I go back home, I need to look after the children, I need to work, I need to clean, I need to cook rice. And the very hard thing for me is my mother is only living very near our house. I’m asking myself why my mother she never took me from my stepmother. I always feel… rejected. But I always think, I need to continue my life.


Then when I grow up, my husband came. I feel love from him. He make me happy. Then, that’s why I got married early. When I got married, I said that if I have a baby, or if I have children, I’ll never leave them. I’m always with them. I don’t want my children to happen what happened to me before. Yeah. I’m with them, when they are small I always go to the school, everywhere, to their… anywhere they want, I go with them. I never leave them. But when they are become big, of course the expenses become big also. I decided to go abroad because we have a lot of borrowed money, and the expenses of my children become big. My husband now he is sick, he had diabetic and tuberculosis. He is not fit to work. I am the one that I need to push to work. I really miss my children. Four years I’m never with them.


Sounds of children’s playground.



They are not here. I want to see the twins, because I know that they are now big. I want to see my favourite twins. Even if I am not with them, I feel love, here. I miss her! I miss him!


Sound of child laughing.



Every time he is crying, he don’t want to go to his mum, he’s going to me! If he want to sleep, he want to eat, he’s going with me. He’s always looking at me. Every time. He want always me on his eyes!


You know before, I’m always crying, I almost want to die. But I’m always thinking my children. When I’m with that family, I feel isolated, I don’t know where to go, I don’t know to do. I want to… I want to kill my life.


So, I run away. I bring my clothes and one of my hand is rubbish, pretending that I’m throwing the garbage, if they wake up so they don’t ask where I’m going. They’re only thinking that I’m throwing the rubbish. That’s the way how I run away. When I run away from them, I feel like I am free like a bird! Yeah.


I look for Filipino community. I Google ‘Filipino community,’ and then I found the Notting Hill, St John Notthing Hill church. And when I met the Filipino organisation, the FDWA [Filipino Domestic Workers’ Association] and other organisations, always teaching ‘Fight your rights, as a woman, as a human being,’ I become… brave.


If I paid all of my debt, my borrowed money, and I have work, or I have a business, I want to go back to my home country, to live with my family. But if there’s a chance that I can bring them here… it’s better.


I met a lot of bad people. But when I’m here in London, I feel very… safe. I feel like I have a family in London.


Sounds of Holland Park fade out.