Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Woman’s Work……

A new advertising campaign has launched in Saudi. It aims to highlight the abuse that domestic workers suffer at the hands of their employers. Domestic help is prevalent here as it is so cheap. Many families have live in maids – the bigger apartments and all villas have a maid’s room and bathroom.

You see maids everywhere you go – they tend to help out looking after the children. And they don’t look happy much of the time. Quite often I’ve seen them trailing along behind a family, carrying bags at the mall, or trying to control unruly children. Sometimes they bring children down to our pool or take them into the play areas.

For the first time in my life we have a cleaner – I’ve always felt slightly guilty about this and never had great feedback from friends who have them in terms of then doing a very good job. Also I always have a strange urge to tidy up before she comes! But I love her now – when you don’t get home before 8 pm each night, cleaning really isn’t top of the agenda. And as the boy only gets one day off a week, it definitely isn’t the way to spend that precious time.

Ours is allegedly called Eileen – which I am skeptical about as it is such an English name (who next – Edna?!) and she leaves notes for me along the lines of: “Ma’am, I need: Jif cream cleaner and a BRUSH FOR THE TOILET.” This last part was actually written in capitals! Last week she left a letter from the agency she comes from asking that we don’t give her gifts (!) as the maids on their book sonly have small lockers and can’t fit much into them……nice touch. Thankfully we tip her in cash. I am truly grateful every Tuesday when I come home and can smell the Dettol before I open the front door.

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