Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Housekeeping (Part 2)

We have found a little angel. Her name is Pedzi.

Pedzi used to work at one of our neighbour's house and was the first person I interviewed to help me in the house with... everything. First pick seems to be the winning one so far as Pedzi is just lovely. She is a 27 year old single mum and comes from Chinhoyi, a little town situated a couple of hours out of Harare. We accommodate her in a little room with separate bathroom and cooking area just behind the house.

I'm sure the idea of having help and baby sitting “on tap” will make most of our friends a little jealous, but honestly, how could I cope with mountains of ironing, numerous window cleaning, no dishwasher, hosting quite a few visitors, and just the fact that the house seems to get dirty more quickly here?

Pedzi's official story is that she failed her O levels because her dad died the month of the exams and she had to look after her 3 younger sisters with her mum. She lives in a tiny house without electricity and is the main bread winner for her family (her mum, who sells tomatoes by the side of the road, her 5 year old son and a couple of sisters). Now, I've been told that this is the set story, but it all sounds plausible so I am going to believe it. And what I do know is that Pedzi really needed a job, and that when I told her that we were taking her on board, her smile was so beautiful that I knew she'd be motivated!

Her son is being looked after by her mum in her home town. Apparently, it is common for kids to be brought up by their grand-parents in Zim, a cultural fact that helps me to alleviate my sense of guilt to keep her away from him.

On the other side, I do feel uneasy when I compare her wage to our extremely high standards of living (for Zim!). It is not unusual for us to spend her monthly salary in a single shopping trip at the supermarket. What is “fairness” all about when the gaps are so huge and when where you are born is what makes you rich or poor? This is why we like being here, to be reminded that we haven't done anything to deserve what we have. The day I stop wrestling with the issue of justice (I don't have the answers), then I may as well go home.

For the last 2 weeks, we've gradually gotten used to each other. She is good company for the girls and myself. She is much tidier that I am, she has got a good sense of initiative, she works hard. She is a little angel.

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