A few weeks ago, I was chatting my neighbour who has two children, I noticed she was more frazzled than she normally was and when I asked her she told me she has had to take on more work since she sent her house help (domestic help) packing. I was not really surprised because sending a house help away for one reason or the other is fairly common in our part of the world. I have had my own fair share of them – from the one who steals, to the one who loves going to parties and leaving the house for long hours, to the one who got pregnant by my security guard (I’m actually still haunted by the thought of whether they “did it” on my bed while I was at work (cringe!)). However to add to my list of “the horrible things I know house helps can do”, I asked her what happened. She then told me that the girl had been putting Dettol (a disinfectant) in her child’s medicine and even in her husband’s wine! I was shocked at the wickedness of the innocent looking girl, who looks like she cannot swallow a ball of fufu. She actually conceived of the idea to poison, and was actually poisoning the poor woman’s sick child without her knowledge, if not for God’s intervention that made her to taste the medication on that day and she noticed the taste was totally off, I wonder what damage would have been done to the child. In law, all the ingredients necessary to prove a crime were complete – there is mens rea (thought), actus reus (action) and opportunity. Come to think of it, she may have been convicted and punished for a crime. However she was not reported to the police, arrested nor charged for the serious crime of attempted murder, but was simply sent away.
There are so many horror stories that we have heard about house helps from the north, south, east and west. In my opinion, I don’t think its peculiar to any part of the country or even our part of the world, but I can mostly speak for my region, others from other regions can talk about their experiences too. What about some female helps who end up snatching women’s husbands right under their noses, molest the little boys (a lot of adult males have confessed that their first sexual experience was with their house help), or even the male helps who tend to molest female children?
So here is a dilemma. Can we actually do without them because of their tendency to be bad? Or is their behavior a way of getting back at some of their employees who are cruel and would not hesitate to treat them badly and humiliate them at the slightest opportunity? That, by the way is a topic for another day because it goes both ways- just as there are evil house helps, there are also evil “slave masters” too. There are however the lucky few who have house helps that live with them for many years, helping to raise their kids from birth to adolescence, taking care of their homes right, showing respect to their employees and even end up becoming part of the family. I am still in a desperate search for those elusive few house helps who are like that!
With our jobs, careers, businesses and so many other activities that take up our time away from home and children, we need to invite that extra person, who by the way is always a stranger, into our home. We pay them to help us with some of these tasks to make our lives much easier. Sometimes these people have to come and live with us or just come in the mornings and leave at night, depending on which is more convenient for the persons involved. I really believe they are a necessary evil because some of us cannot function well without them, neither is it an easy road to live with them.
So I would like to know your own “house help” story if any and what your opinion is about why some of them are just outright mean, rude, obstinate… (You are free to add your own adjective ☺). Is it because of how some of them are treated or some of them just have inherent wickedness in them, or is it caused by the society in which we live?