final report on gujarat & my new (5th is it?) maid

I have returned from Gujarat in one peice. The last village I visited, Liya, was the most amazing of them all – the India I know and love. The village was located quite far away and could easily be the furthest I’ve ever been in rural areas. You could tell immediately that they were much poorer and had limited access to modern technology. even our cell phones stopped working as we got close!
I stayed in the car just to assess the situation and see if i could go out without being mobbed. The people would come up to the car window, stare, ask the driver why I was there and then carry on with their business. After a while of this I felt that they were mellow, respectful people and that it would be safe to get out!!
I sat near the interviewers trying to see if things were going ok. Soon a local lady sat down with me to keep me company. She was trying her hardest to speak to me, I tried my Hindi, but she didn’t understand anything but their local gujarati. So i started teaching her some english words. She was so excited to be able to communicate with me a bit! And of course this drew a crowd pretty quickly – but they all gave me plenty of space and were very quiet and respectful. And maybe I just wasn’t as tired too, so I really enjoyed interacting with the village. We took photos and then they all waved our car off into the dark.

Then I headed back to Mumbai the following morning, completely exhausted! First thing back I had to clean the house and then interview maids. (the last maid ruined several of folo’s shirts that we just bought in dubai and when I got mad at her for it, she quit — but her sister has continued to recommend people to me which has been great.)
This current maid – Collette, isn’t the best, but has a few perks so I must keep her at whatever cost!!! First, she lives only 3 blocks away from me, so during the rains there will be no excuse of why she can’t come and there will never be “traffic” delay excuses for being late or not showing up. and 2, she seems to be very fond of the cats and thinks about them a lot – even leaving out toys for them to play with when I am gone! She isn’t the best cleaner, but she has never worked for a foreigner before so I think she will just take time to learn how to do things properly. She also speaks/reads english well, and is happy working here all day long for the same pay as the other lady was for half day. She also has told me that if I have people over at night to just call her and she will come over to help out. So we shall see… although today she left an hour early… i’ve not been home all week with her, so I think she was getting used to being able to do her own thing, but today I came home early and she was gone…. I won’t get mad though —just have to make sure it doesn’t happen again!
I can’t afford to lose this maid – we really need someone who will be close to the house and reliable for when we are in the US this summer – we will be gone during the worst part of monsoon when many of the roads are flooded, so I need to make sure someone is close enough to come each day, twice to look after the cats!
and work is killing me still – i am just now starting to catch up on sleep — too many 20 hr days with little break. Tomorrow i have a volunteer coming so still another working weekend. i really do need a holiday, but I can’t imagine howmuch work will pile up when I’m gone, so i’d rather stay put until my big summer US trip!!!thats all from the wonderful world of slaint.

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