Saturday, 16 December 2006

Service workers in Kuwait

The grocery packers not only pack the stuff but also take it out to the car and put it all in the boot. Westerners tend to tip these people but some Arabs don’t.

Everyone who has children has a maid, often 'living in'. Maids are Philippine, Sri Lankan or Indian. The job of the maid is to clean the house, but she may also look after the children and cook too. Working for a western family is much preferred to an Arab one. A family without children may have a houseboy instead. Some families have a driver too. And then they may have a cook.

British mothers like it here because of the maids. A working mother’s life is so much easier with a maid. I have a maid who I pay the going rate of the KD5 (over 10 pounds) each week. Justin is the husband of the real maid who is ill in Sri Lanka having operations and so he took over all her work. He has medical bills to pay and so I couldn’t say no when a teacher asked if I wanted to employ him. The going rate is that flat fee and they will do whatever is required which can take him 4 hours or more. He is very thorough, floor vacuumed and mopped throughout, widows cleaned inside and out (hanging onto the window ledge outside the window! – doesn’t matter which floor you are on but I’m 1st floor), clean kitchen and bathroom, dust, iron and balcony cleaned. He has been here 25 years; only works for British people and his English is so pigeon he is difficult to understand.