We leave them with our kids. They eventually become our adopted family members. But do we really know them? That is the question. We take this question for granted and only leave it late before we attempt to answer it. Either we wonder when our lovely maids disappear with our kids and/or belongings. A Pretoria woman walked to her house expecting to be greeted by the cries of her 6 month old toddler, but instead was greeted by utter silence; with no sight of the maid and the handsome boy. After some time of agony, they found their lovely baby dumped at an orphanage centre in Hillbrow. This was after the maid’s attempts to get huge ransom failed. The maid has never been seen before and the couple doesn’t know where she stays.
On a different angle, a young couple having just relocated to the plush suburb of Glenvista, South of Johannesburg drove home from work one day and when they called their maid as they usually do, no one answered. The house was in a mess, broken glass on the floor, furniture scattered around. Suspecting that something bad might have happened they shouted for the maid once again “Ausi, Ausi, Aunty”. No answer even this time round. They looked in her bedroom, the garden and their own bedroom. And in their bedroom, hands and legs tied by ropes, there lay a motionless body of their beloved maid in a wardrobe. Yet another victim of South African crime. The police came in to collect the body and perform all formalities.
Now this young couple had to contact the next-of-kin of the maid to inform them of the sad news. They couldn’t find the maid’s passport or any identity document. All they knew is that she was a Lesotho citizen, and referred to her as Ausi or Mme out of respect; her full name not known. This then turned into another episode of “The adventure of finding my maid’s relatives”. The search for the next-of-kin was a tough journey which could have been avoided if questions were answered before they were asked. Eventually after recalling that they got the maid through an agency, that’s when they could find the maid’s family.
This all boils down to the question, do you know your maid/nanny?
My advice is to keep copies of the following important information about your maid:
· Passport or any form of identity
· Physical address
· Names and contacts of next-of-kin
It is your responsibility to know your maid, and this applies to all helpers we have in our houses; gardeners and so forth.