As my old Zimbabawean cleaner got too old, and too busy for the rigours of cleaning our busy household and keeping it going, she passed on her Kenyan friend Grace to us.
After several years of an African cleaner , I have learned how to work with them, and learned their culture a bit, though there is a lot left to learn, no doubt.
The time that they are going to come and stay is just a guesstimate. After weeks of Grace saying that she would come at 9, which was always 9.30, I asked, “Grace, would you rather just come at 9.30?”
She looked immensely puzzled. “Yes,” she said, “9–9.30.” The difference between the two was much too precise for her, Roy later explained.
Yes, that would naturally be my approach to life. As Rolland Baker says, the world has a lot to learn from Africans.
I grew up in a house with a live in and full time maid, cook and gardener. And so, I am quite used to reading, writing, thinking, with domestic workers around. It does not bother me at all.
Irene, 11, who was born in America and has lived in the UK is similarly unbothered. Interestingly, Zoe, 15, who has also lived in America and England does not feel comfortable with cleaners around, does not feel comfortable telling them what she would like done, and not like done in her room etc. We once caught her watching their attempts to re-organize her room with absolute horror–through a crack in the door of Irene’s room down the corridor!