“I want to See Leona Grow Up and Get Married”: Josefina Amparo Hosena, a Remarkable and Dedicated Domestic Helper, who cares for little Leona.

As a baby, Leona Heng could barely move a muscle when Ms Josefina Amparo Hosena, 40, came to work for her family. Leona, now 3, had been diagnosed with Edwards’ Syndrome, a potentially life-threatening condition which disrupts children’s development. Leona had just undergone a complex surgical operation when Josefina joined the Heng family.

She recalls feeling apprehensive due to Leona’s fragile condition. She overcame that by learning attentively, mastering the precise requirements for Leona’s feeds using PEG tubes and ways to aid her development. Noting Leona’s stillness at night, Josefina offered to have Leona sleep with her. Taking the initiative to place Leona in different sleeping positions, this helped develop Leona’s neck muscles.
Mr and Mrs Heng’s confidence in Josefina is exemplified by their having returned to the workforce and entrusting Josefina to care for Leona by herself. Josefina travels to Leona’s school by public transport when her parents are unable to drive them there. Josefina travels one hour by MRT with Leona in a stroller while carrying three bags with feeding and other equipment for Leona. She waits to board a less crowded train and focuses fully on Leona during the journey, taking in stride people staring and commenting at them.

Josefina is creative, resourceful and exercises initiative all the time. As Leona is prone to vomiting after meals due to gastric reflux, Josefina distracts Leona by creating sounds to distract Leona from her impulse to throw up. Josefina shows genuine love and devotion for Leona; as she willingly sacrifices her weekend time-off to spend time with Leona and her sister Leia.

She emotionally recalls an upsetting time when Leona was admitted to hospital in critical condition. It was a full two minutes before she started breathing again. Josefina screamed as the doctor was unable to attend to Leona immediately. She recalls felt tremendous relief when Leona was finally transferred stable to the ICU. “She came back to us,” Josefina recalls with tears of joy in her eyes.

Josefina concedes it would be much easier looking after a typical child. But caring for Leona and seeing her develop has been life-affirming as she is making a significant difference in a very special child’s life. One she cares for like her own. The Heng family truly cherish having an angel like Josefina in their home.