Cam is our gardener and tends to the yard.. He usually starts his morning by sweeping any fallen leaves off of the driveway, and puts them in piles around the trees. I'm assuming to act as a mulch and absorb moisture when the rainy season comes in a few months. Our yard is huge with many many trees, including an avocado tree.. Every tree has a neatly stacked pile of leaves.. He waters all the plants and flowers and keeps the place looking nice. He is also the only Malawian I have seen who wears a bicycle helmet.
His wife Rabina takes care of the inside of the house. She mops all the floors every day, cleans the bedding and towels, does our laundry and even irons everything.. She will also cook if we ask her. She is accompanied by her 2 1/2 year old son William. He will either be propped to her back, wrapped in a cloth or wandering the house and yard playing with a few handmade toys.. every time I see him he calls me "White man" in Chichewa "Azungu" . I believe she has 2 older daughters.. one I know is my daughter Kate's age. Rabina usually leaves when all her jobs are finished and Cam usually stays until around 4 30, when the night watchman comes to the home. Cosmas and Joseph watch over the property at night, and take turns staying here during the weekend.
Aside from sleeping outside and opening the gate for us when we arrive or leave, they are teaching me some Chichewa.. They also insist on cleaning my car for me. Cosmas cleans the outside, Joseph the inside.. My car is spotless and I have offered to pay them extra for their time, but Joseph stated last night.. "it is in my job description". It's usually embarrassing because he says to me.... "so, your car is dirty again..." Yes Joseph it is.. I'm a slob.
They each make about 70-80$ a month and are always very happy. Last night as I was grilling outside, Joseph asked why I cooked with the charcoal.. "don't you like electricity? We cook with charcoal every night.."
They are also the only real Malawians I speak with on a day to day basis. I usually try to give the guards some food in the evening ( eating alone when you're used to 6 other people is a little strange).With that said, even though they seem very happy, I am reminded that life here is really, really hard. Things that we normally would take medication for or seek routine medical procedures for can destroy life here.. I'm sure Michelle can attest to this better that I can. I just went to take Cosmas some food as I was typing, and he asked for an advance on his pay so he could have money to take a bus to his home village.. His older sister and grandmother had just passed away. He asked for a little more of an advance than usual, because he wants to contribute to the building materials of the tombstone, etc.. I could tell he was shaken. So this blog post has taken a bit of a somber turn. Cosmas has to be one of the nicest people I have met in my short time here......
I would take photos of our everyone who works at the house, but i don't feel comfortable yet. It is hard to gauge how they feel about it.. Im sure it takes time. In Botswana it took a while. They are good people to say the least.. all for now.
|classroom getting there|
|some of our huge back yard..|
|On another happy note, Malawi is a level 5 threat of malaria.. that's the highest .. Therefore we have to take malarone every day and sleep under mosquito nets|