A girl in her teens wakes up as early as 4 a.m.; cleans up the house, washes all that needs to be washed and cleans up the compound. After that she is asked to wash the car(s). In between time, she has to prepare breakfast… breakfast that she is not even allowed to eat. Thereafter, she has to go to the market. She comes back and heads to the kitchen to prepare lunch. By 1 pm, she’s still not done….without breakfast. All of these take place with curses, slaps and beatings coming in regularly, in some cases, by children of the boss, far younger than her. In between time, she might need to take care of the kids of the boss. when she eventually has time to eat, she is served food without meat or fish using utensils the boss and the family can never use! At night, sleeping on a mattress or bed will be an “abomination.”
As you must have guessed right (if you did), this girl is actually someone’s daughter serving as a house help (or maidservant) in another home !!!
This sad scenario takes place in many homes across the globe everyday, even as you read this piece. I had the strong urge to do this post after I watched online, the horrible treatment meted out to a baby by a house help who claimed that she did it because the baby’s mother was very cruel and inhuman to her. No doubt, she deserves all the punishment pronounced meted out to her for her wickedness on the innocent baby. However what it brought up, and inevitably too, was the VERY COMMON inhuman treatment which house helps and other domestic staff (chauffeurs, gardeners, gatekeepers etc) are usually subjected to in the hands of not only their bosses, but their children as well.
The urge was still not too strong until after listening to a discussion by a group of women on this same subject matter, all bothering on the inhuman and very horrible treatment meted out to most house helps. There were stories of a house help who used to sleep in the corridor; a house help who was never allowed to sit in the sitting room; a house help who was denied education; a house help who was constantly being beaten with electricity cable; a house help who was always wearing tattered clothes; a house help who was never allowed to eat chicken or meat….the ugly story continues…
Imagine a girl who once boasted about how she used to curse and kick their house help, who, according to her, was even older than her mother. Then I asked myself: what kind of thoughts would that house help have towards the girl? Would she have good thoughts towards or plans towards her? Would she harm the girl if she had the opportunity? Were the parents, especially the mother, bringing her up properly? What kind of boss will she be in future? Does the men or women who treat their house helps as lesser humans ever belief that for EVERY ACTION THERE IS A REACTION? Does the LAW OF KARMA mean anything to them? Do they believe that what goes around comes around? Do they ever imagine that someday, God, the giver and taker of ALL blessings can turn tables around? And more frightening….do they ever imagine that this badly treated house helps could one day determine whether their bosses lived or not?
It is not all sad tales. Some “Masters” and “Madams” are simply God-sent to their house helps. But they are certainly in the minority. Such men and women have contributed positively to the lives of their domestic staff. I heard of a man who trained his security guard up to university level. I also know of a man who told his house help that she was getting old and needed to stop being a house help. He gave her a huge sum of money to go and establish a business of her own. While with him, she enjoyed virtually everything the family of the man was entitled to. The children called her “Aunty.” She did not even want to go.
I end my post with yet another question, which is actually derived from my post title: If you have a house help (or other domestic workers), how do they feel about you? While it is still possible, make peace with him or her, if you feel this post has “hit” you.
A word is enough for the wise.
Tanks for stopping by.
Image courtesy of FrameAngel at FreeDigitalPhotos.net