A few weeks ago I wrote about my house help’s intention to quit. Being the good girl Mwende is, she agreed to stay on until I found a worthy replacement. Two weeks ago, I finally released her after an endless search for her replacement.
The search for a new girl can be a long and frustrating affair. I got the new girl at Mama Pamela’s bureau. That day, the owner took me through the requirements then called in the girls available.
She brought in six girls and from the first glance, I eliminated three on the spot. The first came across like an ex-Kamiti jail bird. The second candidate looked so young and naïve, she came off as the type that can store a broom in a fridge.
Number three looked like she would turn my house into a brothel.
With three down, I remained with the eligible three candidates and started the interview. I eliminated Jacky when she said she can only cook Pishori rice and uses certain brands of soap because others affect her hands. Really? Some of these girls have such class; you wonder why they are house helps in the first place.
After an hour of interrogating Susan and Kalekye, I settled on the latter. After such a wonderful experience with my Mwende I tend to have a soft spot for girls from Eastern. Other than that, she had this soft demure and appeared mature, she was the real deal. After hiring her, Mwende agreed to stay a few days to train her on our house keeping routine and all.
Everything was going well until, finally Mwende left and Kaleche was on her own. That is when her flaws were exposed. She is slow and has to be monitored closely.
When she wakes up, she appears confused, even after Mwende taught her everything. Day one, after Mwende left, she woke up after her alarm went off and I heard her in the kitchen preparing breakfast. When she was done, all went quiet. When I checked on her, I found her seated quietly in the sitting room.
“Kaleche, kwani umemaliza kazi?” I asked her suggestively. Apparently, she was waiting for instructions on what to do next. And that has been my daily routine - giving her step by step instructions. I was hoping that after a few days she would get the drill, but no luck yet. With this reality, when I’m at work, I have to make several calls, I was even thinking of taking a leave to sharpen her.
Slow as she is, good thing is that she is awesome with Tasha and Troy. In fact they have fallen much so in love with her, they have forgotten Mwende. Because of that, though I’m tempted to fire her, not just yet. Sometimes, that’s all a career mum needs.
The writer is a married working mother of a toddler boy and a pre-school girl. She shares her experience of juggling between career, family and social life