Home » Governance » The Maid From Hell WHO Threatened to Kill Our Kids [column]

THE reason why we enjoy movies where people are shooting and killing each other is because we know that it is fiction, and also that we are not the ones dying. A few weeks ago, I was traumatised after watching a non-fiction video of a Ugandan maid who was filmed brutalising a helpless and sick baby. The video was so graphic and cold-hearted such that it made me sick. I could not bring myself to watch it twice because just once was enough to cause a temporary dysfunction of my pulmonary and cardiac system.

The last time I got such a feeling was when I witnessed a young boy of about four years being knocked down, dragged and killed by a car right in front of me.

I was only 15 and witnessed the accident on my way from school.

I could not eat my lunch and supper that day because my body just refused any food that wanted to come in.

Our modern society is in serious trouble because while we teach our children not to trust strangers, we are ourselves bringing in strangers with all sorts of various, unknown and checkered pasts.

Maids are becoming part of family in most households, but they can be dangerous, especially when we do not bother to check their backgrounds and medical history, including the psychological. One maid abused my friend’s son when he was three years old.

The details that our friend’s son revealed were too graphic to have been a creation of a three-year-old’s imagination. The maid used to fondle him and insert her tongue into his mouth.

We were shocked, disgusted, angry and confused. My friend’s wife could not get the maid arrested because she was a relative of her friend.

She could be working for you now.

Maids can bring their baggage from failed marriages or past hurts into your house. One such maid, Mai Yekera, revealed that she got married as a second wife when she was only 12.

She had looked for a job because her husband had married two more young women after her. She only had one child and was always being chided by the other wives who could give their husband many children.

Together with the other two junior wives, she was made to work in the first wife’s field.

The first wife would give each of the junior wives crops from the harvest depending on the number of children one had. Mai Yekera could not stomach it because she worked hard and for much longer in the first wife’s field, but was always given one bag of maize because she only had one child.

Besides the unfair grain distribution, Mai Yekera confided in my wife that there were fights over who was going to host and have the husband for the night.

She also said they would fight over who cooked the best, over who dressed the best and who got chosen to accompany the husband to their Marange Church camps.

Eventually, Mai Yekera decided to look for her own field. She hired some cows and freed herself from working in the first wife’s field.

Because the husband worked in the city and would come home once in a while, he was shocked to hear that Mai Yekera had decided to become independent. As a result, a meeting was convened to rein in Mai Yekera.

She was quizzed over her decision to go it alone. She was ordered to abandon her field that was promising a bumper harvest, but she refused.

As a result, she was ostracised and eventually chased away because the husband was of the opinion that she would negatively influence his other wives.

So she left without anything that she had worked for.

She was also accused of infidelity because it was believed that some secret lover was sponsoring her, which was the reason why she was able to get a piece of land, hire some cows, buy some seed and apply fertilisers.

As a result, Mai Yekera decided to look for a job as a maid.

She was a very bitter woman and her wish was to work hard and go back to the village to show her husband’s other wives that she had moved on. She also felt that at 28, she could get herself a man who could marry and pamper her.

Yet at times, when she talked to my wife, she expressed a deep desire to go back to her polygamous husband even though she felt manoeuvred against, unwanted, worthless, unfit, dirty and cheap.

She had a huge intra-personal conflict and showed signs of stress and trauma. On some days, she would sit and stare in blank space for a very long time such that she would forget about minding the baby or the cooking pots.

On some days she would put a brave show and laugh at her fellow wives whom she described as desperate and cowards.

Mai Yekera would say to my wife, “Mhamha, I have forgotten about what happened. I now want to work and send my daughter to school.”

Yet, on other days, she would just start talking endlessly about her chickens and property that she left behind.

She felt that if she had been given the chance to harvest her crop, she would have bought herself some goats and eventually her own cows.

In the end, Mai Yekera just left when we had gone away.

She just sent a text message to say she had gone back home to Mutoko, but not before she stole some clothes.

Another maid who had also come from a broken marriage told bizarre stories which we think were affecting her psychologically, because she was nervous, confused and very afraid of making mistakes.

She used to have nightmares and would wake up screaming. She said her ex-husband was a soldier and used to beat her badly — sometimes until she bled, broke bones or passed out.

This woman was an orphan, and the husband took aantage of her vulnerability and dependence on him to abuse her, knowing that she had nowhere to run. She said he would bring his girlfriends home and order her off the bed because she did not buy the bed and the blankets. She said at one time he came back home when it was raining and poured buckets of cold water on the bed she was sleeping.

After that, he badly assaulted her and ordered her out of his house. She spent the night standing outside in the rain, scantily dressed.

When you hire such people as maids, and you do not find time to check their backgrounds you are likely to regret it.

As long as they are just coming out of a difficult situation where they are victims, they will be carrying excess emotional and psychological baggage.

They need help and psychosocial support. They need to be allowed to tell their story — to narrate the painful things that happened to them so that they may start to heal.

Such people cannot just come out of war and just function normally. They need to work and earn some money and move on, but they are like someone who is trying to swim with their coat, shoes and hat on.

Rejection and abuse are big problems in modern society. Maids are like any other person who has needs and wants.

Background checks are necessary to establish who they are and where they are coming from. It is unfortunate that a lot of them are secretive because they fear losing their jobs, so they will fabricate lies or will just not open up.

Another of our maids, Noma, was a divorcee. She had a cough for several months and was wasting away.

She became very short-tempered to the extent of continuously threatening to kill our children.

We had to dismiss her because her threats were freaking out the children and her health was deteriorating.

When she died, we heard her story that, a married man made her pregnant.

The man’s wife left after discovering the infidelity and Noma became the new wife.

However, the man made yet another woman pregnant and when Noma protested, she was sent to the man’s rural home without any support.

She eventually went back to her people and got pregnant by some man who for two years kept promising to marry her.

Source : The Herald