Monday, March 7, 2011

Strangers in my house

I love my space. My very own personal space to just be me. I like to control it and take care of it the way I like to. So when someone comes in and disrupts my space, I get a little antsy to say the least.

I don't wash my clothes by hand. I can, but I don't like it. It's too difficult for my delicate white hands. In the past I have done it and my hands were sore for days. If I can avoid it I will. In this culture, if you have money, you are sort of expected to have a househelp aka a maid. It is probably the lowest end job one could have but it is very much expected here. I have had many different househelps during my times in Kenya. Most of them were great; some not so great but at least my clothes were clean and my house was washed.

The apartment I live in is small enough that I can maintain it myself. I actually prefer to clean it, take care of it, and organize it myself. However, I need help washing my clothes.

A friend suggested to me a lady to come and help me. We called her this morning and she told us that her daughter was sick so she couldn't come but she would send her cousin. We waited and waited and waited for her cousin to arrive and when she finally did, we discovered that the lady did actually come with her baby after all. So that makes two foreign (to me) ladies and one sick baby in my tiny house.

I made it clear that I ONLY want my clothes washed. Nothing else.

Well the cousin quickly started on my clothes while the other lady and her baby watched. The child didn't seem sick as she was roaming around my house grabbing at everything she could find and screaming. Then it was lunch and it was decided that the lady would cook lunch while her cousin finished my clothes. We had to go buy the necessary ingredients (because I don't cook traditional kenyan food so I don't have them in my house) and then she started piddling around in my kitchen. She was very respectful but it is just not comfortable having another woman in my kitchen cooking. (I know some of you are thinking that it would be great to have someone cook for you all the time but when that strange person is rummaging through everything in your kitchen, it is a wee bit uncomfortable).  I just decided to relax as I could here her going through all my cupboards and drawers.

In the meantime, two sets of visitors showed up. One was the captain of the Rehma boys and the other was a new roommate for us. As my focus was on what the ladies are doing, I am trying to entertain these guests and discuss some things. My head was spinning.

Finally lunch was ready and we all sat down to eat (it was definitely a blessing that I didn't have to cook to feed all my visitors). The clothes were all washed. It was time for everyone to leave.

I was so relieved.

I am now at home all alone. The power has gone out so it is quiet. I just finished re-cleaning the house (the lady didn't wash the dishes very well or put anything away in the right spot and somehow she collected an army of ants and a cockroach) and am just sitting down to do some work on my computer.

I am grateful for the help but I wonder if it was all worth it. I am actually considering learning to wash my clothes or even buying a washing machine.

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