Kubatana.net ~ an online community of Zimbabwean activists

Desperately Seeking Sisi

TOP del.icio.us

We’re looking for a new domestic worker.  The last one left because she was getting married (logical?).  Forget the difficulties of actually training and living with a virtual stranger.  The search for a domestic is probably more tortuous.

As a starting point, it made sense to ask the out-going employee to recommend a replacement.  For us, that had always been a tried and tested method.  However, it proved to be trying and testing of us.  First, she said that she needed us to give her the details of the incumbent’s conditions of employment.  We obliged.  Then she wanted us to justify why her conditions were different from the new ones we were offering.  We gave her an explanation but soon found ourselves being interrogated on each and every point.  It wasn’t long before we were given front-row and centre seats to her protracted pity-parties.  In the end, she decided that she was no longer able to assist us … because of her husband, of course.

A little frazzled, we turned to family and friends for their help.  Unfortunately our quest churned out more horror stories than referrals.  We heard it all – about moodiness, going a.w.o.l., pilfering; of molesting maids and witching workers.  It all had us reconsidering whether we really needed domestic help.  Three days of doing laundry soon set that straight!

We broadened the search and sought assistance from neighbours.  No luck again, especially since somehow they got the impression that we were trying to poach their own domestic workers with the ‘showy’ working conditions we were offering.

The focus shifted to our neighbours in our rural area.  This time we wanted less references and more potential employees.  That became a learning experience.  Apparently, many in Matabeleland would prefer to seek work in South Africa than in Harare, which is viewed as a foreign nation.

We’re now toying with the idea of using a recruitment agency.  Having scanned the papers, we’ve come across ads that say, “For 18 – 45 years old maids, gardeners and cookers, please phone Shadi on 123456″.  Understandably, we’re a little hesitant to make that call and so the laundry basket piles higher and higher!

Comments are closed.