The older I grow the more I realise that my time is limited and yet there is so much that needs to get done at work, school and at home. On the home front, we have been brought up around the school of thought of having a nanny, maid or house help to lessen the load and help you be able to fully function without dropping the ball.
Unfortunately with this added assistance also comes all the other evils that maids are known for bringing to the table.
After years of my sister and I being able to chip in and run our household, the time had finally come where we really needed the extra help around the house. Begrudgingly we got a maid who had worked in Kampala before for about a year and a half, but what I was more interested in was why she had left her previous employer. She told me that the lady of the house was verbally abusive and this did not make her stay there pleasant which is why she decided to leave.
So I hired her and within 2 weeks my sister and I noticed something did not add up. She would sleep all day, not cook dinner some evenings, undermine authority when given instructions and was very wasteful of food. One evening when I came back home a little earlier than usual after fighting through Kampala traffic, I found her chatting with the neighbours guard and even had to open the gate for myself.
Maid (Rose) ‘’Welcome back.’’
Me: ‘’Thank you, so what is for dinner?’’
Maid (Rose) ‘’…..’’ No response as she quickly spun around and began to hastily walk away.
Me: ‘’Where are you running off to, all I asked is what is for dinner?’’
Maid (Rose) ‘’Ah, I did not cook,’’ she said as she run off to the back of the house to start peeling the potatoes.’’
I was too tired to get into this conversation at the time and so I decided to take a shower and prepare for an extended reading session only for her to return after 20 minutes with a pot of peeled sweet potatoes.
Me: ‘’What is going on.’’
Maid (Rose) ‘’Aunt said she would come back home and steam the potatoes.’’
Me: ‘’Are you sure, that does not make sense because she is working late today. ‘’
Maid (Rose) ‘’Yes she said so. She even told me to put out the cooked sauce so she would warm it.’’
Me: ‘’ Alright!’’ I said in response although this did not make any sense but I decided to give her a benefit of the doubt. I prepared dinner that night as she sat and watched TV. A part of me wanted to tell her off because I knew exactly what she was doing but I wanted to this to be a teaching moment. Many of you must be wondering why I would do this for someone I pay to do this job but I believe in giving people a chance to prove themselves as opposed to believing in hearsay.
8:40pm dinner was ready and my sister was finally home right on the dot and she walked in she asked why I had not yet eaten.
Sister: ‘’Why haven’t you eaten when the food is clearly ready and still hot at that.’’
Me: ‘’Oh I just finished cooking so am cleaning up then I will serve.’’
As I responded, the maid had quickly jumped up and was serving her food before any of us without a care in the world.’’
Sister: ‘’Why are you cooking?’’
Me: ‘’Because I found peeled potatoes waiting for you to steam as well as sauce. Apparently you told her that you would be doing dinner. I got home hungry since I had not had lunch today so I decided to do dinner. ’’
Sister: ‘’What! Rose, did I say I would cook lunch?’’
Maid (Rose) ‘’Yes you said I peel and you would cook.’’
Sister: ‘’Did I not say I would warm for you any food that needed a steaming if you cooked it during the day?’’
Maid (Rose) ‘’Silence.’’
Me: ‘’Rose, respond when we are talking to you.’’
Maid (Rose) ‘’Aunt you came home and I asked you to help me steam the potatoes.’’
Me: ‘’No, that’s not what you told me?’’
Maid (Rose) ‘’No I asked you to help me and you did.’’
To cut a long story short, she was telling lies and did not expect my sister and I to compare notes about the incident. Prior to this, Rose had pitted me against my sister like this before only that I was not present at the time. Sad for her, she did not expect my sister and I to compare notes which was the case right now and had finally gotten her in trouble.
What happened to the lovely nannies we had while growing up who were part of the family and loved their jobs and we loved right back. Well, after a brief clarification on this issue, Rose came clean and was too embarrassed to serve dinner after that and went off to bed. Sadly, Rose was not ready to change and we let her go a couple of weeks later since we realised she was lacking in character. Moral of the story, treat people fairly but also when you are helping someone/ employing them, do not allow them to take you for a ride and abuse your kindness.