Of Kenyan Maids and Nigerian Order..,



I thought I'd be ranting about Nigerian women today but that soup is still cooking as my new vet-er (Mr. O, one of my more brutally honest friends who I'll introduce at some point in time) didn't think I was giving them as much credit(..And Nigerian women love credit- credit cards).

Onwards onwards..Talking of cooks and other staff that are standard in a Nigerian household(driver, vet, gardener, laundry guy, window cleaner, curtain drawer, gateman,  pool cleaner, dog walker, suya master, tailor, market woman for groceries, manicurist for madam, barber for oga..Ok, or not as my host’s staff list only goes up to the driver after the cook. However, trust you me, I'm sure there's a Nigerian guy with that host of staff in his home. Mike Adenuga fits the profile..Hello sirJ)
Today, we discuss Kenyan maids and Nigerian order! I have much bile for Kenyan maids since I came back!

My outlook reeks of a modern woman who probably (to those who don't know me) comes off as less bothered by traditions and such other things. What with my wardrobe ensembles dictated by fashion capitals whose streets I've not traversed..high waist skirts that call attention to my waist from miles away and polite three inch heels(presently preferred with metal caps at the tips- the Kardashians have it!) to give a little rhythm to my hips sway- basically mask my crab walking tendencies!
However, in my head and heart, therein lies a village girl still colonized by traditions top among which revolve around a deep profound respect for people around me especially elders. Somehow, I still manage to occasionally do the slight curtsey as I greet older folk or place my left hand on my right as I greet them. ..,and if my aunt Flo does not have me feeling cantankerous, I might even give the lady with the arched back my seat on the bus. OK, I usually give them the seat irregardless.
Nigeria appeals to me because the hierarchy between old folk and the young still holds water to a great degree. It’s not as diluted as much as in my own country.

I was referred to as 'ma' 'auntie' or madam Kenya'(which I hated of all terms conjured) by the staff at my host’s place. Initially, I cringed at this deep respect shown to me by people older than me but got used to it over time.
If you have experienced a Kenyan maid in a regular household, you will understand my predicament. Kenyan maids are something else. Maybe it’s because we pay them peanuts- the cheap kind at that- and have them double up as the dog walker, laundry woman, cook and if we manage to import a second hand Toyota from Japan, as the driver! We, Kenyans, are a frugal bunch. Nothing like 'chop my money' on this end. Which money? Whose money?! We love things that serve multi-purposes right down from printers that serve as photocopiers and scanners, to cows we can milk and 'wife' in the case of some Kiambu men as well as maids that can perform all duties not listed in the verbal agreements we forever forget to pen down and have our maids sign.

The help in Nigeria was not instructed on how to treat me as a guest of the family. It comes naturally to them. They understand hierarchies. Warm reception all the way.
Kenyan maid


Kenyan maids..hmm..*huge sigh* or as we Kenyans would say, ‘wacha tu!’.  My friends help has become so accustomed to my presence she now addresses me as Rosy! My sisters on the hand, when I hint out loud that I'm thirsty, looks at me as if wanting to suggest that the kitchen is still where I last left it as is the water dispenser! I can almost read her dirty little thoughts. Get me something to drink already!!!! She hates service! Most of them do, yet at the end of the day, they still bag the peanuts- albeit begrudgingly.

The Nigerian help(s) served me with so much grace I'm yet to get over it! I loved them.
 The table was laid out properly and breakfast was served in good time. They occasionally peeped to see if I was done with my food to come collect the dishes. If I was too tired to hold my knife and fork or  If the pepper in my food was too hot, somebody was standing by to fan my poor self, hand me water , hold my cutlery every time asking, ‘madam you don chew your food abi’!! If my outfit had a crease the iron didn’t capture, they  were on stand-by to request that I ‘OFF IT’ for ironing!! Ok, maybe I went a little overboard there but you get my flow, right??<..,but if you really push it with them, they might do just that.>
Kenyan maids! Huh! Wacha tu!! They are a pretentious bunch. Angels in the first week of employment.
They will rise before the crack of dawn to warm your bath, prepare your tea and butter your bread. They will play master chef going to the extent of preparing pilau with tea masala in the case of my friend Kami. Get you used to their antics and your kids in tow hooked to them. All this is part of their devious plan to get you hooked. Basically, bait. .., and when they have you and the kids hooked, they pull out! You come home from work to an untidy house. First excuse, headache. A few days later you’re already used to the state of the house as are your kids. (The rampant mention of kids here is because, most, if not all Kenyans who have a live-in help do it for their kids. Else, we do just fine sans these trouble makers). Thing is, you can’t let them go because the kids love them and you need them! Also, we’re a suspicious bunch, not wanting to expose our kids and property to too many prying eyes! SMH. That’s how they hold you hostage in your own home..with your own kids on their side! Enough said.

*SIGH*

My point:
The Kenyan help sees housework as a form of lesser employment even when the options they have are limited. Nigerian helps don’t (..,and if they do, they don’t play it out). They accept the situation as it is at the moment and if at all they have dreams beyond service in their master’s house, they give their best to that which they are presently doing as they pan out the grand plan for their exit to wherever it might lead them.
At the end of the day life is just that, life. We cannot escape the hierarchies that come with it. There will always be masters as there will be servants. Wherever you fall<.., and I’m not talking about maids silly!>, you need to figure out to know to which port you’re sailing so you can guide your mast in the direction of the right wind.
Two things:
i)                    ‘The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in service’
ii)                  ‘Everybody can be great..because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love’(<---this I dedicate to my sisters help..get me a glass of water alreadyJ)

Ok. .., and perhaps a third, 'I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy!’

Enough said!!<I said this somewhere in this passage..repetition..aarrgghh>

Xoxo,
Kazini Daily
KAZINI DAILY: Of Kenyan Maids and Nigerian Order..,

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Of Kenyan Maids and Nigerian Order..,



I thought I'd be ranting about Nigerian women today but that soup is still cooking as my new vet-er (Mr. O, one of my more brutally honest friends who I'll introduce at some point in time) didn't think I was giving them as much credit(..And Nigerian women love credit- credit cards).

Onwards onwards..Talking of cooks and other staff that are standard in a Nigerian household(driver, vet, gardener, laundry guy, window cleaner, curtain drawer, gateman,  pool cleaner, dog walker, suya master, tailor, market woman for groceries, manicurist for madam, barber for oga..Ok, or not as my host’s staff list only goes up to the driver after the cook. However, trust you me, I'm sure there's a Nigerian guy with that host of staff in his home. Mike Adenuga fits the profile..Hello sirJ)
Today, we discuss Kenyan maids and Nigerian order! I have much bile for Kenyan maids since I came back!

My outlook reeks of a modern woman who probably (to those who don't know me) comes off as less bothered by traditions and such other things. What with my wardrobe ensembles dictated by fashion capitals whose streets I've not traversed..high waist skirts that call attention to my waist from miles away and polite three inch heels(presently preferred with metal caps at the tips- the Kardashians have it!) to give a little rhythm to my hips sway- basically mask my crab walking tendencies!
However, in my head and heart, therein lies a village girl still colonized by traditions top among which revolve around a deep profound respect for people around me especially elders. Somehow, I still manage to occasionally do the slight curtsey as I greet older folk or place my left hand on my right as I greet them. ..,and if my aunt Flo does not have me feeling cantankerous, I might even give the lady with the arched back my seat on the bus. OK, I usually give them the seat irregardless.
Nigeria appeals to me because the hierarchy between old folk and the young still holds water to a great degree. It’s not as diluted as much as in my own country.

I was referred to as 'ma' 'auntie' or madam Kenya'(which I hated of all terms conjured) by the staff at my host’s place. Initially, I cringed at this deep respect shown to me by people older than me but got used to it over time.
If you have experienced a Kenyan maid in a regular household, you will understand my predicament. Kenyan maids are something else. Maybe it’s because we pay them peanuts- the cheap kind at that- and have them double up as the dog walker, laundry woman, cook and if we manage to import a second hand Toyota from Japan, as the driver! We, Kenyans, are a frugal bunch. Nothing like 'chop my money' on this end. Which money? Whose money?! We love things that serve multi-purposes right down from printers that serve as photocopiers and scanners, to cows we can milk and 'wife' in the case of some Kiambu men as well as maids that can perform all duties not listed in the verbal agreements we forever forget to pen down and have our maids sign.

The help in Nigeria was not instructed on how to treat me as a guest of the family. It comes naturally to them. They understand hierarchies. Warm reception all the way.
Kenyan maid


Kenyan maids..hmm..*huge sigh* or as we Kenyans would say, ‘wacha tu!’.  My friends help has become so accustomed to my presence she now addresses me as Rosy! My sisters on the hand, when I hint out loud that I'm thirsty, looks at me as if wanting to suggest that the kitchen is still where I last left it as is the water dispenser! I can almost read her dirty little thoughts. Get me something to drink already!!!! She hates service! Most of them do, yet at the end of the day, they still bag the peanuts- albeit begrudgingly.

The Nigerian help(s) served me with so much grace I'm yet to get over it! I loved them.
 The table was laid out properly and breakfast was served in good time. They occasionally peeped to see if I was done with my food to come collect the dishes. If I was too tired to hold my knife and fork or  If the pepper in my food was too hot, somebody was standing by to fan my poor self, hand me water , hold my cutlery every time asking, ‘madam you don chew your food abi’!! If my outfit had a crease the iron didn’t capture, they  were on stand-by to request that I ‘OFF IT’ for ironing!! Ok, maybe I went a little overboard there but you get my flow, right??<..,but if you really push it with them, they might do just that.>
Kenyan maids! Huh! Wacha tu!! They are a pretentious bunch. Angels in the first week of employment.
They will rise before the crack of dawn to warm your bath, prepare your tea and butter your bread. They will play master chef going to the extent of preparing pilau with tea masala in the case of my friend Kami. Get you used to their antics and your kids in tow hooked to them. All this is part of their devious plan to get you hooked. Basically, bait. .., and when they have you and the kids hooked, they pull out! You come home from work to an untidy house. First excuse, headache. A few days later you’re already used to the state of the house as are your kids. (The rampant mention of kids here is because, most, if not all Kenyans who have a live-in help do it for their kids. Else, we do just fine sans these trouble makers). Thing is, you can’t let them go because the kids love them and you need them! Also, we’re a suspicious bunch, not wanting to expose our kids and property to too many prying eyes! SMH. That’s how they hold you hostage in your own home..with your own kids on their side! Enough said.

*SIGH*

My point:
The Kenyan help sees housework as a form of lesser employment even when the options they have are limited. Nigerian helps don’t (..,and if they do, they don’t play it out). They accept the situation as it is at the moment and if at all they have dreams beyond service in their master’s house, they give their best to that which they are presently doing as they pan out the grand plan for their exit to wherever it might lead them.
At the end of the day life is just that, life. We cannot escape the hierarchies that come with it. There will always be masters as there will be servants. Wherever you fall<.., and I’m not talking about maids silly!>, you need to figure out to know to which port you’re sailing so you can guide your mast in the direction of the right wind.
Two things:
i)                    ‘The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in service’
ii)                  ‘Everybody can be great..because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love’(<---this I dedicate to my sisters help..get me a glass of water alreadyJ)

Ok. .., and perhaps a third, 'I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy!’

Enough said!!<I said this somewhere in this passage..repetition..aarrgghh>

Xoxo,
Kazini Daily

5 Comments:

At 22 October 2013 at 20:29 , Anonymous naijahusband said...

I need to get Naijawife's opinion on this post.

 
At 23 October 2013 at 18:56 , Blogger ROSELYN K said...

Does she agree? :-)
Greetings Naija Husband:)

 
At 5 January 2014 at 03:44 , Blogger Twentie n Flirtie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 5 January 2014 at 03:49 , Blogger Twentie n Flirtie said...

Nice post and I love the wacha tu! Slang. What does it mean?

 
At 5 January 2014 at 10:07 , Blogger ROSELYN K said...

Its Swahili for 'Let it be' or the equivalent of Nigerian pidgin 'filee'. Thanks for stopping by:)

 

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