Sunday, 8 June 2008

Domestic Help

Well, we have gone and done it . . . . . . . we have resisted long enough.  This last weekend we have employed a full-time, live-in maid!

What used to be Tim's office (on the other side of the kitchen), has now been converted into a maid's room, complete with bed, TV, DVD player, fridge and stove.  Nadeka (from Sri Lanka) also has her own bathroom and it is completely separate from our side of the house.  She even has her own entrance.  It was completely her choice to have cooking things in her room - she said "my cooking is too smelly for your kitchen madam".  Her husband is also living with her - we were a little unsure at first, but frankly, we never see him and she is kept company in the evenings as he is there.  He has also said he will mow the lawn for us and clean our cars for a little pocket money, which means that we no longer have need for a separate gardener.

Now, before you think we have gone all posh on you and are rolling in loot, I need to tell you that we pay a ridiculous amount to have full time help - the equivalent per week of about 4 hours of a cleaner at home.  For our money, we get our house cleaned top to bottom daily, laundry washed and ironed, the garden swept and washed, help with the cooking and clearing up after us AND two nights' babysitting every week . . . . When we left the UK, we were paying a babysitter £6 an hour, so for marginally more than a night's weekly babysitting in the UK, we can get so much help.

It can feel a bit mean paying so little, but it is quite common here for housemaids to come to Dubai from either the Philippines, India or Sri Lanka.  They live sparsely when they are here and send their money back home to pay for their children's education or supplement the income back home.  Believe it or not, the money they earn here goes a very long way in their home country and for the most part, they want to be here.  Nadeka gets one day off a week and we fly her home for one month a year with full pay, when she can see her 18 month old son, who is currently being cared for by her in-laws in Sri Lanka.  (Oh, how lucky we all are, even if we think we are not.)

It would also be nice to bring her to the UK with us in the summer so that she could do more of the same . . . . but I don’t think we’d get away with putting her in a tent in the garden!!!

The children seem to like her and it's nice for me, as I get to play with the children an awful lot more than I did.  Right now (although I am on the PC), dinner is finished and being cleared away and the washing up done and the children are happily playing with Playmobil . . . . . I'm going to go join them . . . . 

Having said all of the above though, there is so little for me to do about the house . . . . . . I might have to go and get a part-time job within school hours . . . . . . . . Tim will be pleased!

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