As employees all our house helps have their off days. My house-help usually takes her time off duty on Sundays. Even when I am at home on Saturdays, she prefers letting me rest (in her own words, it is the only resting day that I have) and take her rest on Sundays.
It was a Sunday like any other. I was “on duty” as usual. Having prepared breakfast for the family and fed the baby, I was going to my room to pick up something only to be stopped by my nanny who was extending something to me in her hand! I was pleasantly surprised and asked her what it was for! In her coy manner, she said “Just for you!” as she quickly disappeared into her room to prepare herself for her “off”. To say that I was touched by her gesture would be an understatement. Yes, I always make a point of bringing my nanny and her daughter who lives with her sister many kilometers away from Nairobi a small gift whenever I travel, just like I always bring my children and spouse something. Unknown to me, she was actually taking notes and looking for a day to return the gesture. And it wasn’t the first time she had done so either. Last year when she went for her “Christmas shopping”, she bought my son a lovely Africa prints shirt that counts among his Sunday best, worn only on special occasions. So, as I wrap myself up in my warm shawl and sip my hot chocolate curled up on my sofa, I can’t help but thank God for blessing us with these ladies who take care of our families and babies so selflessly and even find it in them to buy us gifts once in a while.
As my son bids her farewell with his usual “Unaenda off, aunty?” question, my parting words are: treat them with respect, give them dignity and space to do their work and they will repay you in kind.