The House Girl – Part One

March, 2003.  Garki District, Abuja.

“Chinyere!  Chinyere!”

Madam’s shrill voice sounded in the air, causing the house girl to raise her head slowly and rise up from her task of washing Madam’s lace wrappers and beaded blouses, which she always demanded were hand-washed with her special soap.  She rubbed her hands on her own cotton wrapper, which also substituted as a covering sheet at night, and wiped her hand across her sweaty face.  The sun was particularly scorching today.  She wondered what Madam could want now.

Pushing aside the mosquito net, and forcing the heavy steel kitchen door open, Chinyere walked into the kitchen to find Madam holding the pot of stew they had cooked yesterday.  She had that look on her face that Chinyere was becoming accustomed to.  That accusatory, demeaning look of privilege and superiority, not only economically, but spiritually.  She steeled herself, ready for the accusations to flow.

“You are stealing meat from my pot again?!”

“Ma, I no steal…”

“Shut your mouth!  Or do you think I am stupid?!  You think I don’t keep count of the meat in my pot?  If it is not you, who broke into my house to steal meat?!”


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