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How Do You Treat Your Maid?

Sep 10, 2009, 5:14 AM | Article By: Isatou Dumbuya

Sally was vehemently awakened by the clanks of plates downstairs and she nearly jumped out of her tiny bed as she flung the blanket aside and hastily headed for the door.

Instinct told her to act very carefully, but she was irrational as she went down to the kitchen to see to the problem, if there was, and of course solve it like the dutiful maid she was.

When she was at the bottom of the stars, she heard the splash of water on the tiled floor that made her mind to be at ease, because she knew that it was only one person who would do that in the dead of the night. When she reached the door to the kitchen, she found it ajar. She craned her neck, tip-toed on her delicate feet and came behind a sweet little girl who was busy drinking some milk.

Mammy Lena was so busy chortling milk in her mouth that she didn't hear Sally come in. Sally tickled her on the ribs and she turned around, face covered with milk as she giggled helplessly. She childishly licked the corners of her mouth as she gave Sally an "I was very thirsty and needed something to drink" smile. At that instant, Sally knew in her heart that she couldn't live without the childish laughter and banters of this child, her baby, the child she had come to love like her very own even though she did not have one.

She came nearer and ruffled Mammy Lena's head. Before leaving with the child, she set everything in order and closed the door as she scooped the child and left for the nursery.

After she had tucked the sleepy child in bed and sang her a lullaby she always sang to her, she switched off the lamp and closed the door and went to her own room which was the adjourning room to Mammy Lena's. All those while, she was very careful not to wake the Mr. and Missus up.

When she entered her room, a thousand different thoughts rushed to her mind as she remembered the treatment she was accorded in this household, the harsh treatment. But Sally saw it as nothing other than the course of pure servitude.

Sally was now twenty -three and it was five years ago when misfortune hit her family and drove her to the Njie's, searching for work.

Sally was a brilliant girl at school, but as fate would have it, she ended up being a maid, but all faith is not lost for a brighter future.

Just imagine the other day when she was serving dinner, the older son of the family who was always impatient with everything and everybody wanted to beat her up black and blue all because she served dinner one hour later than the usual time. He was told a few home truths matter of factly by his stern father and he later reluctantly apologized to her.

To top it all, Sally works twenty-four hours and seven days a week just to earn her meager wages, but again her family couldn't do without it.

One thing she knew was that Mammy Lena keeps her going in her work with her angelic smiles and childish stories which makes her love for the child to grow forever more.

Out of habit, she made her bed once more, settled in it and propped the pillow as she placed her head on it. She hugged the blanket around her and forced herself into a dreamless sleep preparing herself mentally for tomorrow's demanding work, then again, just like every other day.