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4 skills house-help must have

25 May 2015, 15:41 Shakila Alivitsa

Nairobi -  My sister has a favorite quip, she is not going to employ a house help ever in her household. Her reasons: they steal, lie, misuse, generally untrustworthy-with your household and husband, and she will end up having to do everything herself either way. Generally, she just thinks she will not need them.

Seeing as I and my mother know her pretty well, we are waiting for the day because we know how lazy she is. Also, if you work-that is a day to day job- you will need a house help unless you are planning to live like a hermit.

I am going to have a house help but I also know I am going to have to train her in a lot of things.

I am yet to hear of a good house girl agency that does much more than recruit those who did their employers wrong and have been recruited a new without further training. Most agencies are just passing from one locale to another. While people who actually did housekeeping do not want to work for a household but for a ritzy hotel.

That is why a lot of women go for the ones that are directly sent from their rural home by the mother.

There are some crucial things that your help needs to know that I think are quite candid.

First aid

It does not matter how many siblings she thinks she has raised or children of her own. Your child needs to be left with someone who knows how to do first aid. You need to know how to do first aid!

I do not know how to do first aid meaning that I will have to go along with them. The worst thing that can happen to your child is if they choke on something but the help does not know what to do and just stares. How do you think those children who end up in refrigerators end up in their or the freezer. The help from the backward village did not know what to do! Let them be taught first aid, it will irk the waste of your time at that moment but when an emergency comes up and she knows what to do, you will thank your gods.


Now, do not go up in arms. Let us rethink this, maybe she should not know how to drive but when you leave your house and your husband is not available, what happens in an emergency?

Let me tell you a story. When we were children, we lived with my mother and house help only. We were children and our smallest sister was also an infant. So, in order for the help to look after us, she had to cook and we had to be in the same room as well so that she could see what we were up to.

You already know this story does not end well.

The smallest (around 8months) was dancing on top of the table and our eyes were glued on the television. The glue in this story is the sufurias of hot boiling water that was meant to cook Ugali. In the few minutes that the help figured we were fine and she could go get the floor in the other room, the infant had already ended up in the boiling water. Half a sufurias of boiling water! She was scalded. No car and the parents were unavailable! Now if not for the squad police car that saw the burnt child in the arms of a miscellaneous woman, I do not know what story I would be telling.

Moral of the story, our Kenyan police are not always that bad and your house help needs to know how to drive. Otherwise, just look for someone who can drive because accidents and emergencies happen where children are involved.

What to cook and how to cook

Applies to both you and the children. I have never understood how people complain that someone does not know how to cook. If she is there it means she was eating something; basically, the way you should look at it as the woman of the household is that their cooking style is different from yours.

Think of it this way, she is a blank slate on which you write a new chapter.

You are the one who is meant to train her on how to cook for you and your children. Unless you are also dense, in which case, your household will eat her ‘bad’ food.


I have seen some dirty helps in my lifetime. I think that is part of the reason my sister is against them.

She comes in and she is worse than your situation. So you wonder how she is meant to help!

My mother’s rule: she trains you, but you had better be a quick study!

Unless she has worked for a couple of households she will not be good at anything. You will have to be the one to train her. Now, if you are also not a very hygienic person that makes for an uncomfortable situation for your husband and children.

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Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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