Sunday, February 26, 2006

Living the life of luxury...

Again, another story about a housemaid killing herself - this time by hanging. There's a story today in the GDN about a Filipina housemaid who hung herself just after a month of being in Bahrain. The sponsors don't know why, they gave a suicide note to the authorities who are checking it out... but will it really tell the truth of what happened? I wonder what the truth is. This housemaid even had a Bachelor's degree, and here she was working as a housemaid. The poor soul. I would bet that she was lied to before coming to Bahrain and promised something glorious, and then wound up working as a housemaid/slave pretty much.

The housemaid situation in this country is something else. I mean, here you have people who are too poor to feed their own families, and they have housemaids. You have people who physically abuse their housemaids and then you have those who sexually abuse them, some just verbally abuse them, while others treat them as slaves and/or animals. I've never seen anything like it in my life. But, I wasn't raised here and we didn't have housemaids so it's all new to me. I will say though, not all Bahrainis treat their housemaids poorly, but there are those who do.

In the U.S., housemaids are not the norm. Matter of fact, most ppl I know have never had a housemaid or if they do, the cleaning lady comes in once a month or once every two weeks and helps to pick up and such - with most stipulating that they "don't do windows". I used to work for a guy that had a cleaning lady that would come once every couple of weeks, and his wife would pick up before she'd arrive so that the cleaning lady wouldn't think they were dirty people. Imagine! But, here in Bahrain and in the Gulf States, you have people who work their housemaids to death, and not only that, but they work for several houses in the family and hardly make anything for doing this. Not only do they clean, but they watch the children, do the madam's hair, toenails, fingernails, waxing... everything.

It's a luxury that many can't afford in the States.... I wonder what would happen if it became like this here. Would Bahraini's start doing manual labor, in their own houses? hmmmm.... I wonder.

We have a housemaid and we've had our own share of problems for whatever reasons. She told us recently that her father had passed and she wanted to go back to Indonesia. We found out that it was a lie and that she did the same in Doha prior to coming to our house, and when she first arrived in to Bahrain she worked for a family for just two days before insisting to leave them. I'm sure she doesn't want to be a housemaid. Who does!? It's not my favorite thing to do, but I have always done it myself. Honestly, I find it to be good therapy, and boy does it work off the calories! So.. what do you do? My husband wants to keep her until we get back from our holiday or even maybe until her contract is finished, which isn't until December, but I really don't care either way. I know I don't want her lying and saying things that aren't true, which she has done, but I can't control it. I think that when we come back from holiday, we're going to let her go. It's for the best really. Some times, some of the things these women do to their employers sorta scares me.... I'd rather not be subject to such... if I have the option, and I do.

And if she's unhappy and doesn't want to be in this country doing this hard labor, then who are we to keep her here. I don't believe in this. She is human after all.... and me, personally, I think about what it would be like to live in her shoes for a month or so.... then... it's an easy choice to make.

No comments: