When we arrived in Tanzania, way back in August we were advised that we would be approached by people looking for work. It is common practice for expatriates to employ house workers. By doing so we provide income and share our relative wealth with others in the community.
Our early experience was not good and having initially employed two houseworkers on probation we soon came to a decision we had to let them go. For a short while we had no one but then we struck gold.
Jani has been our house worker since October. She is older than our previous workers but a hard worker and completely trustworthy. Each morning she arrives at about 8:30 and she leaves about 3pm. One of her first questions was to whether we would like her to cook, she is an excellent cook and bakes too, fresh bread made most days and far superior to that in the shops. Jani has worked with other expats in previous jobs and speaks reasonably good English, though we communicate a lot in Kiswahili. Duties include cleaning, washing (dishes and clothes), ironing and shopping. As a national she gets fair prices what we Mzungu would struggle to get.
With Anita’s arm the way it is (having broken it badly in Jan 2012), and the physical nature of much of the work especially the washing (no washing machine here!) it is good for us to have some one ‘who does’. We pay a good wage and along with other expats, we contribute to Health Insurance which covers her in case of illness.
It all seems very decadent and I do worry a little about it. However, the alternative for Jani and others would be unemployment. in the end we trust that we are being a help to her as she is to us.