Friday, August 15, 2008


So everybody told me that hiring house help here would be a little bit of a pain. At first I resisted the idea of even hiring help because it seems so unnecessary for me. I do not have a job that takes me out of the house, I do not have kids, why would I be unable to care for my house when I used to do it in the states in addition to working psycho 14 hour days? Well, I found it is necessary to hire household helpers for a couple of reasons. First of all, the house gets really dusty really quickly!! Some of it is like due to the construction taking place at my neighbor's house next to us, but in general, daily dusting is needed all the time. I never thought dust could collect quicker than San Francisco (Edwardians, although really cute in style, are evil for collecting dust) but it does! Everyday the furniture has to be dusted and the floors swept and mopped. Second reason is I guess burglary can be a concern here so it is always suggested that there is someone home at all times.

So we went ahead and hired a houseboy. His job is to feed the dogs, water the garden, use the vacuum thing in the pool, and wash all the windows. We hired a boy from a province about 10 hours (by bus) from here and he sucked. He was 16, and there are two types of 16 year olds--ones who want to work and ones that act like petulant teenagers. We had the latter. He was a frickin pain. He was lazy. He also had a seemingly huge adversity to wearing a shirt. Everyday we would have to tell him to put on a shirt. He made it with us 5 weeks. We sent him back to the province.

We also hired a maid. She is a godsend. She is actually the sister of my mother-in-laws houseboy and she is everything the evil teenager is not. She is efficient, does a perfect job, and is the sweetest person. I am hoping she works out and stays for the long haul. I also like that she is not scared of the rott and feeds him and can walk him with no problem (he probably weighs about as much as her). Although she is also from Bicol (a province surrounded by water), she cannot swim so I tried to teach her the other day. I am a bad swim instructor. I will have Ado do it. Since we have a pool here that is 7' deep in the far end, I will feel a lot better if she can swim. She came here because after working for four years for a family in Bicol, she was still only making P1,500 a month (about $35). That is lower than ANYONE in Manila pays. You would not even start someone out that low. It is REALLY, REALLY low.

It was weird. When hiring help, everyone had these weird opinions about which province was best to hire from and whether agencies had the best workers or if the workers from the agencies knew too many "tricks". I even listened to a conversation about a province to avoid because if they get mad, they will kill you. This was an actual conversation! The weirdest part of it, was when my friend brought up the province having angry people, my other friend agreed immediately! What a weird conception to have. There were also theories I heard about if someone should be from a nearby province or far, how old was best, if they had kids, etc. I guess in the end none of it mattered because we hired from the same province that everyone in Ado's family hires from.

So now we have to hire one more person. I am keen on someone who can drive because right now we have no driver and I only drive if I am with someone who can translate for me in the case of an accident. I never drive by myself. This means that Ado always has to come with me or I have to drag someone with me. Life would be a lot easier for me with a driver.....