Earlier today I was talking to a colleague of mine who has had the misfortune of having a terrible househelp/ maid/ nanny. Actually, aside from that title, if we can be honest many Kenyans call their maids househelps and “aunty“.
These ladies and men are usually the most important employees for anyone who works away from home. Why? Well, we entrust them with our homes, the preparation of our food and more importantly, they take care of our children.
That puts them in an immensely influential role in our lives. Ofcourse, if you still live in your parents house you cannot relate. Nor can you relate to this topic if you live on your own but if you do indeed have a househelp, you know just what I am saying.
Now back to my colleague. Her name is Njoki and she regaled me in some horrendous tales about terrible nannies she had hired and ended up having to fire.
And so i came up with a list of fears Nairobi residents and indeed Kenyans and East Africans have to live with as they are at the mercy of their househelps
#1. Sexual Exploitation of our children
This is more so a fear for people with daughters and houseboys but trust me when I say that even with parents of young boys, this is a reality that gives us the hibbyjibbies!
#2. Physical abuse of our children
#3. The househelp might scheme to have your house robbed
I think everyone you has atleast one horror story about being robbed and suspecting the househelp of being the mastermind behind it. I certainly do and the worst part is that it was a neighbour’s househelp. This happened afew years back in Spring Valley and the intended victim, a white man named Nick, who was our neighbour at the time got set up by his househelp only for him to get too drunk to driver therefore needing to sleep it off! The thugs then turned to our house. Let’s just say we have been locking our doors ever since then!
#4. The househelp might steal your husband/ wife
Ha! This was a rather interesting one! I have never been raised to think that a househelp can “steal” your spouse from you but according to the women in the office, this is a real concern. And to work a way around it, women are apparently expected to cook for their husbands. Ha!
#5.The fear that your child might be neglected
I have this fear. This one is real to me because I have to entrust the well-being of my special boy to someone who is for intents and purposes a stranger to me. And so I always look my son over and smell him to ensure he has taken his baths and has a clean diaper on.
To have a househelp who neglects anything from hygiene to meals is a scary prospect that some Kenyans have been unfortunate enough to have been subjected to.
#6 The fear that your child might get stolen
Yeah… this has happened before and sadly, some cases go unreported. This is a genuine fear given that by the time you realize your child is missing, a few hours have already gone by. Sad!