5 ways not to treat domestic workers
10 April 2015, 18:06
Nairobi - A while back, there was that video that showed a house
help brutalize a child that made me think twice about ever hiring one if I
ever had a child. I am sure my sentiments are followed by many. It just put the
fear of God in me.
I am not going to talk about that on this article though, I
am going to talk about some house-helps and the plight they go through in the
households of their employers. The house help is the woman’s territory and is
rarely if ever dealt with by the man of the house. At times some of these men
have no clue when it comes to how the house is run. He just comes home one day,
finds a strange woman in the house and life moves on for him.
On the other hand, there are some women who are
re-incarnations of the devils themselves. Most house-helps are usually
teenagers who were unable to finish school or just women from the rural area
who had no other means. When they come to town, they most times have no means
of getting back to their rural home without help. We talk about those who are
in the UAE who are brutalized by foreigners but back at home there are some
vile creatures that are living amongst us.
Someone’s child is sent to live with you, even if you pay
them. Does that mean that you get the license to mistreat them?
The one who locks up food
My mother is the one who told me about this one. The woman of the house, as everyone else is
leaving to go to work, she makes sure to lock up all the foods in the house. If
possible even the kitchen. All in the name of preventing the maid from being
wasteful. It got to a point, that she was not even allowed lunch and had to
stay hungry the whole day until evening when everyone else would eat. Even
then, she would have to wait until everybody else has finished eating sio that
she can have some.
There is no rest for you
Sunday to Sunday, your back had better have a number seven
shape otherwise you are not working hard enough. Some employers do not allow
their help any off days. It might have been agreed upon in which case it is
okay. But what about those who were promised the day off, and on coming here it
is intolerable to their employer.
Those who live in bad conditions
Most houses do not have a servant’s quarter for the majority
of the middle income earners. So helps do not get their own living arrangement.
In some cases, they are given an area on the floor to make a makeshift bed to
sleep on every night. It is allowed if the bed is good, we have all slept on
the floor at one point or the other. In some cases though you get the help is
given rags to pass the night in because she is not good enough to warrant
materials in good conditions.
The one who beats the help
Like I said before, most helps who come to Nairobi are
teenagers who dropped out of school because of pregnancy, no fees or any such
condition. So if the employer raises a hand to beat them, they cannot defend
themselves because they are not strong enough, have no means to go back home if
they get chased out or they just have no one to help them here. Beating someone
because they failed to get instructions is also violence. Even if they are a
child, they are not your child, so you do not have the right to hit them.
The one who allows the children to disrespect her
Children learn their manners from their parents. If your
children are ill behaved, that is because you are also ill behaved. How they
behave in public is a direct reflection of you. When you allow your children to
bully, talk down and insult someone who may even be your age mate, that says a lot for you as both a person and as a parent.
This is how innocent children end up paying for their
parent’s misdeeds. You mistreat the help, then you leave your child with that
very same help. In your head what are you thinking? The help takes out their
frustrations with you on the child.
In most cases, let me amend that, in all cases, the men of
the house are never allowed to speak up or defend the help. That is when he
gets the side look that just speaks volumes in itself. So he keeps quiet
because he does not want to be involved.
If you have someone’s child at your home then treat them as
you would like your own child to be treated.
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