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.

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