March 27, 2007

A new maid, again

terrace, La Ceiba, Honduras
I've been keeping a secret from you. We have a new maid or housekeeper, empleada, whatever you want to call her. Here in La Ceiba, the Honduran ladies usually call them muchachas, which literally means girls. Not very politically correct, but that's what it is.

She started last Wednesday but I didn't want to mention it just in case she turned out like the last one who left after two days. Here it is Tuesday and she's back again. ¡Ay caramba!

She is a Garífuna from Corozal, a little town east of La Ceiba. (The Garífunas have an interesting history.) Josaly has four children, the youngest of whom is only six months and she does have a husband. Her husband is a fisherman and he also makes jewelry and souvenirs out of coconut shells. I'm going to try to get her to bring some one day so I can take some pictures.

I don't know why, but I was telling her (or trying to tell, I can never be entirely sure with my Spanish) about how I don't understand why we can never keep a housekeeper. I said that I don't think I am so bad and she sort of snorted and said "no, you're not." She said it like she meant it, not like it was an obligatory answer, so I felt good about that.

We agreed to discuss the cultural differences so that neither one of us has hard feelings. I also told her that in my culture, people never, ever tell a woman that she is fat − let's nip that one in the bud!

Josaly also gave me the inside scoop on one of our previous maids. She said P drinks (a lot) and that's why she missed so much work. Ahah! P was the one who asked me to give her the bottle of rum she found in the cupboard for her 5-year-old's birthday party.

I know it is too soon to be hopeful, but so far she has been very pleasant, seems to like the animals, and is a good worker. She's not yet convinced about not using chemicals and bleach everywhere, but hopefully we'll get there!

With Frank still here and now Josaly, I'm spending a lot of time supervising and speaking Spanish. By 4:00, I think I'm more exhuasted than they are. My brain is exhausted anyway.

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