In the last post I mentioned that I had a couple of meetings yesterday. For one of the meetings the client suggested that we meet at her home. On getting there, I took in the very spacious compound, well furnished home and shiny polished floors. I took my seat to wait for my host while I wondered whose job it was to keep the crib in such a spotless state. Right on cue the answer appeared from behind me; "Aunty Nwandooooooooo" I heard someone shriek. I spun around to see our former maid *Kate. Surprised, I jumped up and hugged her and then it all came back and just as if she could read my mind, she 'cut eye' for me to not say anything that could threaten her stay in this lavish home where she wears crisp white uniforms and speaks with the same diction she assumes the Queen speaks with.
Well it's not like she did anything so outrageous. She only collected her salary and told us she was going to buy some toiletries and never showed up. At first we thought nothing of it because her bags were still in her room. But on closer inspection we learnt that she filled the bags with rags. We called her phone for weeks but never reached her.
I can't say I'm surprised. The Lekki maids are a special breed all their own.
It's as though they know to take advantage of the over-priced "Island life" and so demand salaries twice or more what their counterparts on the mainland earn. Take for instance how the ladies that have been taken to my mum in Surulere (and other households I'm familiar with) ask for 10k or so and all the ones that have been brought here ask for 25k or more.
After Kate left Lydia came. We agreed on 25k. First off she said we had to buy her toiletries and we did. Oh, know that she didn't use 'toilet' soap like Lux or Imperial Leather and she wanted Revlon cream. Ok. Then it was time to change her hair and when I gave her 200 naira to buy Ozone relaxer she said she uses only Dark 'n' Lovely kit. Ok. Then she said the three meals a day weren't enough and she needed a snack in between. Ok Lydia, you're free to have cookies or candy, just be moderate, please. And then Lydia came and said "I don't want (Lipton) tea with my breakfast anymore, it's is drying my body. I want warm chocolate (Nesquik)". And that was the straw that broke the camel's back. Lydia, there's a reason you're getting a salary, feel free to buy those "other" things that you need.
Some days later Lydia said her parents had summoned her back to the village but barely two weeks later at The Palms we saw Lydia pushing the pram of a gorgeous baby, with the gorgeous mother beside her. My brother shook me and pointed to her but unlike Kate who readily greeted me, Lydia averted her gaze, pretending not to see or know us.
And that's the way they do it. Send them to the market or give them a day off and they go for "interviews". If the house is bigger; meaning the madam is richer, and richer means slower (because they, sometimes rightly, believe that the richer the madam the less street-wise she is and thus the more easily she can be taken advantage of), and the pay is more, even by just a thousand or two, the next day they pack their bags and either disappear or tell you that they've been summoned back home.
It's the same way Onyi, my sister's friend who lives in Ikota went to visit a client in Lekki 1. The client told her that she was expecting a maid that just arrived from the village. She was just going to ask her a few questions and if she liked her then she would ask her to resume the next day, as the maid had said she could resume immediately. Onyi was shocked when, during lunch the new maid walked in and it was none other than her own maid whom she had sent to the market. LOL. Apparently she decided to kill two birds with one stone and attended the interview before buying food stuff for madam.
As you can see, these maids ain't loyal! But can I blame them? It's the same thing everyone does, constantly looking for better opportunities to better their lives.
Unfortunately it's not that harmless. Some Lekki maids insist on staying in the rooms at the back or in th BQ. Notice how a lot of these Lekki maids "insist" and "demand"? Yes, although they're no better than maids anywhere else, it seems their madams had more difficulty getting them so they take advantage of this because madam doesn't want to lose them in a hurry... Especially if the kids are already used to them. So they demand and insist and madam sometimes has no choice but to submit to their demands just to keep them happy.
So, we learnt that some of those who stay in the BQ often have night jobs. If you're lucky they only give your security man a tip and sneak out and back in, in the morning. And if you're not so lucky then while you're sleeping soundly they use the BQ in your home as a brothel and bring in their "customers", possibly putting you and your family at risk. And if you're even more unlucky they get some sexually transmitted diseases and your children especially are exposed. You know most of us don't run tests on them after the first ones we do after they just start work.
So there, these are a few observations I've had on (Lekki) maids. So, regardless of where you live, don't be outsmarted and please run regularly tests on the people in your homes, especially if you've got little children.
Oh, the word "maid" means a female domestic helper but if it offends your overly sensitive politically correct sensibility, please feel free to replace it with domestic servant, house girl, house help or whatever makes you sleep better at night. And you should know that everyone referred to is over 21. I don't subscribe to using children as maids or domestic staff.
Above picture; taken from the movie The Help.