Some time back, my house help pulled a chilling shocker on me. I woke up at the usual time — 5.30AM — and went to the kitchen to check on her. This is the new girl who replaced my good old Mwende who left to get married. She has not been perfect, but she is better than nothing.
Now that morning, the kitchen was unusually quiet and nothing had been touched. Normally by that time, breakfast would be ready and she would be washing the utensils. Surprisingly, she was not in the kitchen nor in her room. I found her on the verandah wiping her shoes.
“Nyako, habari ya asubuhi. Kwani leo hupiki chai? (Good morning. You are not making breakfast today?),” I asked her. “Naenda leo... Narudi kwetu, mama yangu ni mgonjwa, naenda kumchunga (I am leaving today, my mother is unwell...I need to take care of her),” she ranted, sending chills down my spine.
What is this now, I wondered. For goodness sake, this is not the kind of drama I need when I am just about to leave for work. This was unexpected. The previous day, she was in super high spirits. Who would have known? We ate her favourite meal and she was in jovial spirits. She even told me how she wants to stay with me until Tasha reaches Standard Eight.
I even dismissed her jokingly, saying that that is such a long time; nobody can last that long doing house work. She will most likely be fed up with domestic work by year three. After all that promise and high hopes, she was now leaving. What had transpired during the night?
“Si uende end month basi (Why don’t you go at the end of the month),” I tried to talk her out of her outrageous suggestion. But she would hear none of it. “Naenda sa hii, sa hii, nimeshapack vitu zangu (I am going right now I have even packed my things.),” she insisted.
I was in a big fix. Where was I going to start? With Tasha, I was sorted because she was going to school, but where would I leave Troy who is almost a terrible two? And what would I tell the boss given that I am just from leave. My mind was racing fast.
Clearly, she had made up her mind and would not relent. She had packed and was leaving. “Sawa wewe nenda basi, nitaona vile nitafanya,” I told her, infuriated by her lack of consideration. And she was not done with her missiles.
“Nataka mshahara yangu saa hii (I want my money now),”
Long story short, I cleared with her and she left. Now I have a temporary hand. But what still puzzles me is why she left without notice in the middle of the month when I was likely to be broke.
The writer is a married working mother of a toddler boy and a preschooler daughter. She shares her day-today-life experience of juggling between career, family and social life.