How do you spend your Saturday afternoons? I prefer spending mine at home or at the Lake Side. In case I forgot to mention, I spend most of my year in Kisumu City!!! I spent my Saturday last week with a lovely lady at a restaurant in town. I had waited for her for almost an hour, which made me fear that she had bailed out on me. Luckily, she hastily walked in looking rather tired and out of breath.

I joined a WhatsApp group a few months ago and we once discussed nannies. Little did I know that some of the members there worked as house girls. I particularly picked on one who gave a lot of contributions and decided to reach out to her. This is how I landed this meeting with her.

She is a pretty decent lady. I guess she gets a good salary from her employers. I did not waste any time but moved straight to the business of the day and asked the questions I had prepared. She had a a tough childhood, being brought up by a single mother who did not have enough money to take her past form two. She is the first born of 5 children. She got her first job as a house girl when she was just 17 years old.

I was pretty curious to know how she got to know most of the household chores. Her mother is one of those who ensures that everyone at home can do every single kind of job (that is the same as mine). She then tells me that she has a group of other house girls that she mentors. “Mimi nawafunza kazi kidogo kidogo nikiwa free. Hawa watu wengine wanawaandika kazi na kuwakekelesha,” she said. (When free, I teach other girls a few house hold chores. Some of the employers expect them to know everything and end up scolding them if they don’t).

From our conversation, I gathered a few points on what nannies would like done to make their working environment comfortable:-

Have you thought of training your nanny on a  few things? Some of these girls come from homes where they do not have any access  to modern equipment such blenders, microwaves, and fridges. It is essential for you as an employer to teach them how to operate a few of these gadgets. Also, if you would like to have your food cooked in a specific way, have you considered teaching her how you want that cooked? It might just save you the agony of having to complain every single day.

Again, if you have a problem with their clothes, maybe you should get them some uniform. If you think that their clothes are too old or do not match your taste, maybe you should get them something to wear. I have visited many homes and ladies have embraced the spirit of having their house girls wear something that they believe is decent for them.

Have you discusses their salary with them? A lady might come to work for you just because she is in dire need of some money, but the money is just not enough for her. It is important for you to discuss the amount of money you are paying her and maybe make a few adjustments. And as the economic status of the country goes uphill, maybe you should consider giving her a pay rise.

Does she have her own free time? I have heard of girls who are expected to stay at home from Sunday to Sunday. They are also social beings. Maybe a day from home would be great for her; then she can meet her friends or even rush home to meet her family.

At times we might say hurtful things and they might not be able to speak back at us. It is very painful for them. From what I gathered, we have employers who would go to crazy extents of insulting the family she comes from. It is just not right. Let us weigh the words we use to avoid crossing certain lines.

From my conversation with her, I learnt a lot. I am looking forward to having one of the employers send me an email at asking for an interview as well!

Thank you!!

Photo credits :

Lots of Love,

Ruguru Kimani.