There I said it.
Twenty months later and I can now say it. House helper, someone who helps me out at home, someone who helps me clean, a worker... those are all ways to identify her, but in the end she is a maid and I have come to the place where I can say that now.
So, do I feel bad that I have a maid? No.
But, I used to not want anyone back home to know that I had a maid.
In America, only the richest people have a maid service come clean or have a maid in their home. But once you get outside the US, most other countries have workers in the home. Even a friend of mine said that her maid had a maid. Many Zambians we know have 2 maids! You can always find someone who needs a job and the cost is minimal to hire them to help you.
But we are missionaries, so we are naturally expected ( by many) to be roughing it! Eating beans and rice every day, sweating away in the hot sun, reading by candlelight, using a pit latrine, cooking over an open fire, drawing water from a well and boiling our own water.
Well thankfully for us and our situation that is not usually the case. Though I know many missionaries live that way. And I know they must need extra measures of grace each day, because I sure need a lot just for the daily life here.
Since we have had major issues with our water these last few months, like several days during the week where it is off, no water- I have no problem whatsoever with everyone knowing I have a maid.
I can not imagine handwashing laundry for 8 people a couple times a week. Some days all she does is wash the laundry by hand, and get buckets of water to wash the dishes in the kitchen throughout the day and that is it.
Some days I am used to there being no water. ( Yesterday. nothing, I was fine with that. )
And not just no hot water, but like you turn the tap on and nothing comes out all day.
Other days it is aggravating like today for instance. ( Not so fine with that)
You just want to wake up and take a hot shower. You turn it on there is a burst of water for one second and then nothing. So you go to the trash can filled with water and start filling it up to put in a pan to boil water. So I turned it on, nothing came and let out a , "AHHH! "
We are just finishing the cold season, so have not wanted to do the cold water bucket baths but am thinking we will be moving toward that soon! I don't really know what is the problem but the landlord has not really cared and the city water people say it is not a problem on their side of things, so who knows.
Anyway, in light of this challenge most recently I am so thankful to have a maid and I don’t mind that everyone knows!
As a side note: I read the book the HELP recently ... very interesting in light of living in a culture where there is a lot of help. When I go to the grocery store or shopping centre I often see a woman trailing behind the “ma’am” in her uniform. The maid uniform. Many times she is caring for the children. I see this most especially among expatriates, I have even seen people grocery shopping and they have their worker ( whether it is the maid or the gardener) pushing the shopping cart and they are pointing to the items on the shelf for someone else to put into the cart. I see that and I want nothing to do with that type of “help”. That is ridiculous. Come on people, you can put your own groceries into the shopping cart!
We have a place we go to occasionally for tea. They have a cool play area for the kids, and every time I am there I see at least one maid or nanny out by the playground watching the kids. Occasionally the kids run back to the mom who is sitting comfortably sipping her tea in the shade and they say something and run back. And that too seems “ over the top” but it reminds me of the book.
I know it is a difference to some degree of culture. The American culture versus the Zambian, the Indian, the Asian... but then it is also a difference in some of the cases, not all because I don’t know the individuals, but a difference of a mindset.
I am better than you are.
Whether it is the businessman or government worker looking at their maid or gardener, or its the man or woman living in the city versus those living in the compounds / shanty towns, or it is the white person looking down at the black person or even the “workers” looking at those that have no job...
Its all the same mindset. I am better, a better human being. I am worth more than you are.
And unfortunately at some time or another in all of our lives, I think it is safe to say, we view people with the wrong mindset. We forget who we are in the eyes of God, and who we were before His grace was put upon us and we think we are better. It might not be looking at Aunt Jemima cooking your pancakes in the kitchen or Mammie watching your kids on the playground while you are sipping tea, but it is all the same.