When it comes to house helps, I have seen it all: clean slovenly, young old, saints and sinners. When one therefore comes knocking at your door for employment, be forewarned that you might be welcoming one of the following into your abode;
1. The Soap Opera addict – She will wake up early to do her chores shoddily chapchap, in a rush to finish before her favorite Oga or la mujer movie goes on air. A household with children suffers because her attention is shared disproportionately between the young ones and the Television, with the former getting the short end of the stick of course.
2. The Gossip – With the gift of the gab, she is always itching to hear or dish out some gossip. When a chance presents itself for her to call a kamukunji among her fellow house helps, she will grab it with both hands. If that chance further allows, the venue moves to your living room. Your privacy will be invaded in cahoots with her friends; your clothes may be tried on as hilarious anecdotes about your bad habits are exchanged. Soon, the whole neighborhood will know so much about you.
3. The husband-searcher – She is on a mission to end her single status by all means. She chats up the caretaker, the shopkeeper, the garbage guy, anyone. She leaves no prisoners, so if your husband has a wandering eye, why not? It’s not her fault that he can’t resist her is it? Even though she suspects that she could never replace you, a girl can only dream, can’t she?
4. The pilferer – This girl will pinch anything within her reach. One after the other, she will tuck away outfits and other valuables which you seem not too keen on. Children’s clothes are always a target. Problem is, by the time you notice that some of your stuff is missing, it most probably will be too late!
5. The religious fanatic – ‘Dini ya Musambwa’or ‘Legio Maria’ are the most notorious denominations for the girls in this category. She swears by very long dresses and a head band. You will always hear her singing christian hymns as she goes about her business. She is not a problem until your child falls sick and instead of calling to notify you immediately she sprinkles ‘holy’ water on her, performs a ritual and sits it out as she does not believe in healing through medicine.
6. The ‘Lazy bones’ – It beats logic why a lazy girl would want to be a house help, right? Irony is a girl seeking employment but refusing to work. They do exist nonetheless. This is the kind that will clean shoddily; literally sweeping dust under the carpet – dusty furniture and a messy house do not bother her one bit. She’s into lounging like a tourist on holiday. If you dare ask her to pull up her socks, she gives you the “You’re not the boss of me” look. You will always wonder who employed who.
7. The shagzmodo – You will think you have seen it all, until you meet this primitive girl fresh from the farm. She will not know how to use the flushing toilets, she will not eat ‘strange’ foods like macaroni, sausages, or pizza. She will marvel at the television and other electrical gadgets, and you will have to patiently teach her everything! Enjoy this comic relief because this shell will be shed as soon as the village in her is replaced with a know-it-all city girl.
8. The dream house help – This is just THE one. She will clean, cook and tend to your house just the way you like it. She will do her job responsibly and respect your boundaries. Oh, she is a dream alright, but also hard to find. If your stars align just right and by a stroke of luck, you manage to land her, pay her well and treat her right. Keep her by all means!