Archives for the month of: September, 2017

The good part of my work is that i interact with both the employer and the employee. I get to hear both views and sides of the story. One interesting topic with most employers is religion. In searching for a maid, an employer ,amongst other things always asks about the church. It is a very sensitive matter that always makes me wonder. There are two types that most employers shun, the Apostolic churches and the Pentecostals one. The Apostolic usually referred to as the mapostori and the Pentecostals usually referred to as dzana papa. Today i am going to talk about the apostolic church, the white garment. Most employers do not want maids that go to the apostolic church and i think it is mainly to do with their practices. They believe in miteuro , for lack of the exact English word!!! They also use stones, water and oil amongst other items for their prayer rituals. Most employers are not comfortable with this as they do not understand these rites. The funny thing is that most maids are actually apostolic church members. Come to think of it, i have never had an employer from the apostolic church. I wonder why? Is it because they have more uneducated females hence most end up as maids ? Are the majority of Apostolic people low income earners hence they can not afford a maid or it is that their families are so huge hence they share domestic work? Forgive me, i am thinking aloud. I must confess, i am also one of those that do not really understand them that much. On the other hand, i get why employers are weary to get a mupostori. Interacting with them, i discovered they concentrate more on fighting evil or bad spirits. For this reason, they also might want to fend off evil spirits at work that might try to disturb them or want to get them dismissed at work, hence the use of muteuro at work, which is however someones home. This is when you will see your maid with lucky charms at work. I was shocked when some said they can use their urine to ward off evil spirits at home , do not ask me how. Another lady was saying if her madam boss starts being a problem she just uses muteuro! Again do not ask me how. Indeed such talk will get employers running. But again in Zimbabwe , there is freedom of association and you are not allowed to discriminate against someone based on their religion. The maids themselves are getting clever , they now know that not many people favor the white garment sector so they simply lie about their church affiliation. Anywhere, what you do not know does not harm you right. After all , Sunday should be a none working day for a domestic worker so what she does on Sunday should not be anyone’s worry. Besides, there are genuine apostolic churches out there. All we need is to understand them and importantly tell them not to practice anything in other peoples’ homes. Hopefully, they will listen!!!

A few days ago i received sad news about one of the maids i had been working with, Aunt D. She had passed away in her rural area and buried there. Aunt D had come to me looking for employment as a maid. She was a humble woman who was genuine in her plea. I had told her that to register her we needed a police clearance. She had sold her phone to get the clearance and she had only told me after she sold her phone. I then asked her how she was going to receive interview calls now that she had no phone. She then managed to use her sisters phone for all interviews. Before long , she had gotten a good job and her employer was happy with her work. However, a few weeks later i received a message from her employer saying that she had just packed and left her employment. There was little i could do but i was surely disappointed with her. As it maybe, days later i got a message from her sister saying that they had picked her up in Kwekwe ,lost, with no memory what so ever. The next call i got, a month later, was from her employer saying that the family had called notifying them of her death. The sad part in this whole story is how she died. Aunt D had committed suicide by burning herself down in a hut . See, Aunt D had a history of mental illness that i was not aware of, as she had not disclosed to me her agent. Her employer was also not aware of any mental issues too. However, her family knew about it but they also never mentioned it. It is said she lost her husband a few years back but could not deal with his passing very well hence the mental illness. I am hoping that looking for a job as a maid was a way of moving on with her life. To some extent, i do understand why she did not mention it. Who would want to employ someone with a history of mental illness? There is so many misconceptions and discrimination with regards to mental healthy issues. Now i am wondering whether she had received adequate help and medication prior to her looking for a job. On her side or at least her family, maybe, only maybe, they should have mentioned it. I am also left wondering whether her job triggered her relapse. Had we known, maybe she would not have died. It reminds me of a colleague of mine from Botswana who i met at a fellowship. She was so passionate about mental health issues and back then we did not fully understand her passion. Now, i have renewed respect for her work. At times it is not necessary to hide a persons past. The past as they say will always come back to haunt us, it definitely did . I even wondered if she had a funeral policy , these days they are now affordable. May we take time to chat with the workers in our homes, let us know their past and let us be open so they can talk to us freely. Importantly, encourage them to have funeral policies. May Aunt Ds’ soul rest in eternal peace.

All of a sudden there is this distant class in this school of thought who are worried about what domestic workers should be called. it reminds me of the saying that says majoring in the minor and minoring in the major. Like seriously, its not like when you calling them at home you go like ”Domestic worker Fungai” !. Why the fuss about what to call them when it really does not affect them. I hear there is a sector advocating for them to be called Domestic Care Givers , some want them called domestic helpers. but are they really not workers, are they not paid for their work? Unless there is a more valid reason which i am not aware of. Others are saying don’t call them maids, its discriminatory. But you are not worried about being called a maid of honour at a wedding! Please do not get me wrong. i love these women, i work with them and i have gotten to understand them better. Initially, i was worried about calling them maids but i realized its more than about what we call them but rather how we treat them. In all discussions with them, never have they worried about being called maids or domestic workers in your chats or documents because it really does not matter or affect them. Lets worry about how we treat them , lets teach them to be proud of who they are and how they do their job. Do not discriminate against them in practice and in everything, treat them fairly. Maybe the issue is really about whether we call them Sis, Aunty or Tete, culturally we tend to find some sought of relation. We ask their totem then we discover our mothers’ uncle had the same totem hence they are our Mainini! Just saying…
Please do not worry about what to call them , worry about what to pay them!!!!
And the madam bosses don’t want their husbands to be addressed as ‘Daddy’ by the maids…a story for another day…
Mwari atibatsire!

Some years back i decided i would write…yes i am my fathers daughter. I started and i stopped but fours years later i am back. Two kids down the line, now with one parent having lost my dear daddy (mhdsrip) …lets just say a lot has happened in these fours years. But one thing that has lived is my vision. Yes that fire, that zeal for business , yest that one is still there. Four years later , my business is still alive. Yes, it has its challenges but indeed Chris and Geo has made its mark. The brand is growing steadily. From it i have discovered my passion for domestic work both from the employer and the employees perspective. I have further founded a domestic workers organisation the Domestic Workers Association of Zimbabwe with over 100 domestic workers, I also interact with employers on different levels. From these interactions i have realized there are so many stories to tell , so many lessons to share and a ┬ávoice to be heard. so from from now on it will be be about these beautiful Cinderellas, like them or hate them , we still need them..And boy or boy, isn’t there a lot to tell or say about the domestic workers…yes the maids…So stay focused. i will be rolling them interesting stories on our wonderful ladies.