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House Helps in Kenya: I Watched How my Mum Treated House Helps – Will I do the Same?


So they say, children learn from what we do more than what we tell them to do, and that’s why it’s very important for parents to be role models -in action and in words. Today, we have an inspirational guest post from Yunita. Read it and share your comments about it below.

“We’ve been looking for a house help for the past three weeks and I must say we’re quite phobic, due to an experience we recently had. We’ve been referred to several and called each, but none seemed to be the perfect fit.

But I think I we may just have found the one we’ll settle for. Her name is Petronillah, and she’ll be starting work at our home tomorrow. I remember that even as I talked to Petronillah about working as our house help, I had to apply every faculty of faith I could muster in me – to believe that all shall be well. Why are we jittery about a new house help?

Because of Amina.

Amina is our former house girl. But she’s still staying with us –and will continue to do so even after we employ a new house girl. You see, for the last five years, Amina has served us faithfully, and we are now celebrating the new heights she’s moving on to.

How my Mum Treated House Girls

While growing up, I saw my mother do her best to improve the lives of all the girls she employed. She sponsored one girl through primary education, while she took another one to tailoring school. Whether they harnessed the opportunity given to them is another story which I may opt not to tell, but my point here is that my mother did try.

I remember my mum taking in needy children and educating them. While staying with us, each child got exactly the same privileges we did; there was no distinguishing between us and the child. One of them even successfully completed her campus education 🙂

Later on, I read from an editorial in one local magazine that “Every woman employing domestic aid should endeavour to break the poverty cycle in her family”. That is something that strongly reverberated in me, since it is what I saw from my mother all the years I grew up.

Former House Girl now a PhD Holder

I find myself surrounded by like-minded people. My colleague Anne, a Doctorate holder herself, has a former house girl who is now a PhD holder just like her! Just because Anne saw the young lady’s potential after seeing what she scored in KCSE, she went ahed to help her settle the outstanding secondary school fee balance. She then offered to pay for the girl’s college fees and now – the girl is high in the academic ranks!

Maybe you’ve heard of this statement: “Usimdharau huyo msichana – Don’t look down on that girl, for if she’d had half the chances you had, who knows how far she’d be now?”

So back to Amina.

When she came to work in our house, she didn’t know what to do with her life apart from working for us. However, I vividly recall her dad’s words as he handed her over to me:

“Sasa wewe ni kama mama ya huyo msichana tumekupa. Wewe ni mwalimu. Mtendee jinsi ungetendea mtoto wako. Mtafutie namna asome, ajisaidie kwa maisha yake”. (You are now like this girl’s mother; her custodian. You are a teacher. Treat her the same way you’d treat your child. Help her advance her education, so that she can better her future).

Why Amina Still Stays with Us

So I took in Amina with a great sense of responsibility. I was actually feeling blessed, knowing that I had the ability to make even the smallest difference in a young lady’s life.

Maybe I would follow in my mum’s footsteps.

We prayed with Amina, we prayed for her. We had talks with her, got to know her interests, her vision for the future, and mentored her. Amina said she wanted to study hairdressing. So we agreed on the school, paid her fee and she started her course. She went through the three levels of the course, passing each exam with flying colours. Meanwhile, she continued to perform her house chores quite well.

Amina now works in a good job which of course is an improvement from domestic work. And still, she’s a daughter in our own home – she’s living with us as she charts her own path.

As we allow her to flourish, we thought it was time we took on a new house girl. Which is why I’m so jittery about our new house girl Petronillah. Will she be as good as Amina? Will we ever find one as good as Amina? Only time will tell.” –END.

You May Also Like: Questions you Should Ask When Interviewing a House Girl

Did you like this story? Do you have something to share? You may do so in the comments section below. Have you ever sponsored your house girl’s education? We would love to hear about your experience, and what you learned from it. Send me an email on maryanne@mummytales.com with the story, which I will then share with fellow moms.

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Maryanne W. Waweru is a Kenyan mum raising her two sons in Nairobi. A journalist, Maryanne is passionate about telling stories and hopes that through her writing, her readers learn something new, feel encouraged, inspired, and appreciative of what they have in their lives. Maryanne's writing focuses on motherhood, women and lifestyle. "Telling stories is the only thing I know how to do," she says.


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