Actually, I have a gardener too. And it’s WEIRD!!!!
I can’t say I’m entirely comfortable with having two perfect strangers in my personal space all day, doing the work I’m so used to doing. I have to force myself not to make the bed, or take a load of washing out, or clean the dishes.
I sort of feel like I can’t relax, because if my staff are working I should be too.
By the by, let me explain why we decided to employ domestic staff. One word: jobs.
We now live in a country with 90 per cent unemployment. People are moving to Vic Falls from all over Zimbabwe just to get work. It is really the only part of the country growing at the moment.
The economy is in a sorry state, the welfare system is non-existant and the cost of stuff is hideous (thanks to the broken economy).
We could sponsor kids (and will one day). But hiring staff provides jobs for adults, and skill sets they can take elsewhere. Employers often pay school fees for their employees’ children, and provide a sort of health insurance system too.
So, basically, if you (black or white) can afford to hire someone to do any sort of job, around your home or workplace, you do…just to help out.
Besides, when I get working along with Will, and we have guests coming to stay, these guys will keep us functional as a household.
So, that is why I have a maid and a gardener called Faith and Emmanuel, a brother and sister team who seem shy but very good at their work.
Emmanuel spends all day watering, tending to our huge garden, cleaning the pool or whatever other outside job he is set. Faith washes dishes, makes beds, cleans washing, irons it (to kill tiny creatures that burrow into your skin and cause boils), mops floors, cleans bathrooms and windows…or swaps those jobs for other stuff that may need doing.
Not only do they speak their tribal language of Ndebele, they also speak Shona and English.
Kepler is already bugging them and running around greeting them loudly all the time. They are locals, and their dad works for a friend, so we are keeping it in the community.
Titles are another super weird thing to get used to. Faith and Emmanual call me ‘madam’, Will ‘boss’ or ‘sir’, and Kepler ‘mister’. The titles they picked for us are stock standard around here for when you are dealing with anyone in business. Kepler’s title was selected I suppose because that’s what I call him!
Anyways, my big mental question at present is how to negotiate the relationship with a maid…it’s a formal employment situation…in my private abode from 7.30am to 5pm 5 days a week, and a half day on Saturday!!
I don’t want to be too informal, but I don’t want to be too formal…this is all SO STRESSFUL!!!