Do families who employ housemaids know that they are human too? It doesn’t seem like it because these human beings are worked like real donkeys. Wouldn’t the colonial fighters shudder at the way people treat maids?
One of the reasons why our forefathers fought against colonialism is not only because the colonialists had taken over the land but because they were overworked. And in their struggle, they believed that all would be well when these colonialists left.
However, like in Ngugi Wa Thiong’s drama, I Will Marry When I Want, some Africans are willing to take on the practice and sacrifice their fellow African’s blood. I should say it’s unfair to find that the only time a maid is free is when he or she is going to bed; and that will be at 10p.m or so.
A maid practically does everything in a home. They wash clothes including underwear, utensils, cook, serve the food, clean the house, run to the shops and markets.
There is this family I visited and spent almost a week. But what I experienced is not something to write home about.
This family of four girls and their mother never did anything apart from bathing and eating. The rest of the things were done by the maid. The girls couldn’t do anything for themselves. A girl at 12 years could not even cut an onion let on lift burning food off the fire. If the maid was not there then they would stay hungry.
The girls could not wash their clothes. The only thing that they did was to eat. And after eating no one cared to clear the table – all that was left to the maid.
While the maid woke up at 5a.m to start her daily work, the children woke up at 10a.m while their mother woke up at 1p.m to eat lunch. Amid all that, the maid would get abuses for not doing her work well.
Maybe one would argue that after all they are paid. But how much is that amount to treat a fellow human being like a donkey?
One thing families forget is that as they mistreat and over-work these maids, their lives are in the maids’ hands. It is such maids that will sexually abuse a child, sell them for child sacrifice, poison the family or put the babies in the refrigerators. There are those who leave without notice and take off with half the items in the house. They don’t do this because they were taught to do that at their homes. It is sometimes done in revenge being mistreated.
You don’t have to be the bad boss. You can do this by not barking at the maid and knowing that you don’t own them. Help out on some of the house work. If you are a house wife, do half the work and let her do the half. If you are a working woman, do those little chores like cooking the source and washing your own underwear. If you are a man, you can still do some things on your own when you have time, say, on weekends.
And everyone will be happy. Just put yourself in the maid’s shoes. Would you want your boss or anyone to treat you like that or your child for that matter? Of course not! So, why treat someone like they have no running blood?