Friday, September 23, 2011
My country messing with my mind...
All my antiquated notions about child labor took a hike after watching the kids who sometimes fill in for my house maid, at work in my house.
When my first maid first sent in her son and niece ahead of her to do her job, I was annoyed. They were kids, they had just come back from school and according to my lofty ideals, they were not supposed to be doing housework...then they began to "work".
We had just moved in and there was hardly any furniture in the apartment...so lots of open space...the bathroom with it's shower board with the numerous buttons was their pleasure dome...between getting soaked cleaning the bathroom, scampering all over the apartment and me in the process of cleaning it, trying to teach me Gujarati and having me teach them English words, they had a royal time...house cleaning!!...Now how could I have put a stop to this saying I don't want kids working in my house? Would they even understand where I was coming from or would I have simply been an uptight Bi.....?
The next instance was when my current maid took french leave and I asked our apartment building cleaner if she could come in for a day or two...she said she was busy but she would send in her sister...in came this little 9th grader with a big smile and cheerfully cleaned up the place...next day she brings her even tinier little sister with an even bigger smile and the two did the work together. They go to school but they take in such work for after school and weekends. They are obviously from a very poor family and are very proud of being able to contribute to the family income in their spare time. The little one even proved herself to be quite the "take initiative" kind of person by asking me if our regular maid cleaned the bathrooms, if not, could she get that job! Hmmm...I guess I shouldn't be surprised she zeroed in on the bathroom of all things!
So yeah, if I had turned them away from doing a job they are actually good at (unfortunate perhaps but still good at it...)and gives them some extra income to maybe buy books or something, am I doing them good or harm?
I suppose I am still against kids being taken out of school to work full time but I wonder, if I get an intimate look into their lives, thoughts and feelings...if that principle would hold good as well? I don't know!
India My dear...you certainly have a genius for complicating the simplest of principles, overturning pet notions and scattering confusion like rose leaves in bath water...