It is fairly common to have full time help with all of the work that basic living requires here. It is also fairly common to have someone watching your house at night, if you can afford it. There is also the general idea that if you can afford to give someone else a job, you should do that.
When we started building out house, we were told that we needed to hire someone to watch over the site every night so that our building supplies wouldn’t get stolen. We hired a man we knew, who had a daytime job delivering water to people’s homes. We were optimistic at first, but found out that he was drinking and then passing out (and therefore not guarding very well). We also found out that he was harassing our neighbours when he had been drinking. After several discussions and repeated occurrences, we knew we had to find someone else. We were really disappointed, but approached someone, Bosco, who had been doing some day labour for Amiss as well as for MDC. We noticed Bosco because he always seemed patient and kind – even kind to dogs! We were a little skeptical after our first disappointment, but at the time I was pregnant and we were going to be leaving for several months in Canada soon, and needed someone we could trust to watch our house!
Everything seemed to go fine, so we kept him on as a night guard when we returned with Beatrix. I knew I would need some extra help around the house. In addition to trying to keep ahead of the dust that constantly covers everything, I felt I would need someone to help wash Beatrix’s diapers: I am TERRIBLE at doing laundry by hand, I hate it and it takes me a LONG time to do.
So we asked Bosco’s wife, Paskazi, if she would be interested in the job. She was, so we tried to discuss what it might entail. Neither Paskazi nor Bosco speak any English, so we had an initial meeting with a translator, and then have muddled through as best we can in Kinyarwanda. (With occasional translation by phone when its clear we aren’t understanding each other).
I wasn’t sure at first how it would work out. Paskazi is a woman who speaks her mind – and has her own way of doing things. I also have a certain way I want things done. This has been hard when I can’t explain to her WHY I want her to do something (I still struggle to explain when germs are the reason), but when she understands why, she usually comes up with better solutions than I do.
I can’t say enough about how good Bosco and Paskazi have been to us. I am pretty sure any new mother would feel this way about someone who helps with the overwhelming tasks that need to get done while caring for a baby, but both Paskazi and Bosco have consistently gone above and beyond their basic responsibilities as “employees,” and made sure that they do everything well. In addition to really working hard, they have cared for us as a family. There were several mornings last year, when Paskazi just showed up with bananas for me just at the time when I desperately needed some encouragement and kindness.
And… Bosco and Paskazi are two of Beatrix’s favourite people! If she sees Bosco come through the gate, she smiles, shouts and waves until we go to greet him.
She is so happy to go out and spend time with Paskazi while she does laundry: especially now that she can walk around and “help” do the laundry.
If she is with Paskazi, it usually takes some convincing for her to come back to me.
I’ve written a little about how difficult last year was. Having this couple in our lives has made such an incredible difference, and I am so thankful for them.