So I have debated for a while whether to share or not, but I might as well.
In July 2014 I hired a housekeeper who came recommended from someone I know. She had already gone to tailoring school, no money to do freedom etc. You get my drift. I employed her because i took to her and she seemed reasonable and practical. She started work and all was well, during my trad she was also very helpful – i increased her salary by 25%, but i noticed she was often idle.
The thing with me is I am conscious about overworking people and I don’t like folks in my space for extended periods. So she would come in the morning – clean the house and make her breakfast and from say 1pm till 7pm she would be free, unless she had market runs which was maybe 2x a week. She also had Sundays off. By October I asked her how much it was for freedom – they gave her list and we calculated it – N120k – I said absolutely not.
I asked her to go and price 3 different sewing machines. She came back and I picked the middle price and bought it for her and told her point blank she had to work with me for 1 year. She agreed. I even gave her some of my people as customers- she was ok with the basics. She also sewed for others as she had Sundays off.
By November ending tragedy stuck my family and we had a death. Nobody wanted to be around so by mid December after burying my brother in law we all packed ourselves to the overseas – I literally didn’t come back till March. My husband was back and forth so I decided to let the babe stay and clean a few times a week. Moreso I liked her because she never stole – so she was worth keeping on her full salary.
By April she told me she wanted to talk to me. I assumed it was about waec and jamb because i said after 1 year we will discuss admission and how to go about it. In February i had sent her a text to start gathering her results so I would have a starting point to know exactly what is to be done. In April this 22 year old told me she wanted to go and marry. I was in shock and asked to who? Her exact words were – the person I am dating…I said what work does he do? She said teacher in Islamic school in Badagry side. How old? She said 33 – i said to myself this bros is older than me but whats my business. I said what about your education? She said he said he will send her to school. I looked at her and told her, ok congrats. May 31st is your last day. The sewing machine is your wedding gift.
I got myself new help and moved on. Around August i needed something sewn so I called her to see if she was available. I asked after her husband and she said she will tell me when she comes. She came alright and I got an earful – this babe had gone from just head covering to full blown Eleha (full burka)- with only face showing, even socks self join.
I offered her water to drink and brought my fabrics. So she started talking and then crying. I said haba what is it? She spent all her savings about n100k on the wedding because the guy kept telling her to pay for stuff he will give her the money back but never did. Wedding was in June so she was broke by August. Then he had three kids from a prior marriage – I said but I asked you and you said he just finished university in the North and did service, so why lie? Ehn the children used to stay with his mother because the first wife left. Ok so you are a stepmom at 22 congrats.
Now here was the icing on the cake. He was the one that encouraged her to leave her job with me. Dude earns n17k per month she was earning n20k with 2 meals a day- free housing, free water and light etc. This is someone that came to me with one backpack and had to charter taxi when she was leaving with 3 suitcases. She was able to give her mom n5k minimum monthly and also save money from her tailoring hustle.
The place he took her to live, everybody there is a tailor – so that nullifies her skillset. The best job offer she found was as a salesgirl – N7k per month. She said she asked if they would give her food and they said “food bawo”? She now asked me if she could come back to work. I said I have someone but if I know of someone looking i will let her know. Unfortunately for her the friend that was looking had employed someone and the issue of her being married wasn’t a good look.
When I asked her when she was starting school, she said school how? That they have not eaten talkless of school. I spoke with sisi tailor and told her not to go and carry belle as her husband could barely feed the 3 kids and her. Her goal should be to hustle for a year and tidy her finances before she has any babies. I even recommended she go to a pharmacy and buy birth control. I am a realist, I wasn’t going to tell her to leave her husband- if she was my sister I would have said that, but for someone else, no! I even used myself as an example I said look I married after 30, i have been married for one year – I haven’t carried big belle and I am sure my finances are ok – I can care for a child, but what is your rush?
I explained to her that the more she was able to do as a woman, the better the outlook for any children she may have and those 3 children she has inherited.
So she needed to think about how to at least raise money and save for a year before children. If she wanted to find a shop etc she can come and tell me and I would see what I could do as I couldn’t make promises.
In Septemberish I spoke with my husband as I wasn’t pleased with the help I had but I was like you know what, let me keep her and see. When this particular help disappeared on her spiritual adventure (convenant binding that she had to go and do with her cousin), i decided to call aunty tailor back.
This was November beginning. I asked her if she still wanted to come back to work. I was going to make her sign a 6 month contract. The option of an education was off the table. I asked her to discuss with her husband. She came back and said yes but one thing. SHE WAS PREGNANT! I said what? Sorry? I can’t employ a pregnant woman I am sorry – before anything happens to her and it is me they will blame.
I now tried to think about how to help her, but then I was like this babe doesnt need my help at all. Because for starters she didn’t want to follow process and think about a better life for herself. I just get so sad that someone so young has committed themselves to such a life. Because lets face it- without an education what are her chances of rising out of her current situation? What is the likelihood that she will be able to feed all those kids and give them a decent education where they stand a chance at not being in the same vicious cycle?
I simply told myself I cannot want more for someone than they want for themselves. And i refuse to throw the little money I have managed to earn after someone who doesn’t think about life direction.
Thats the story. I was simply thinking about young people and how a lot of times folks don’t want to walk through the stages and think its all going to be ok or miracles will just happen.