Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I want to tell you about Juliana.  She has been working for us for the whole time we've been living in Tanzania except for the first three months, so almost seven years.  She filled in for a girl that had been helping us who didn't like it and wasn't any good at it.  The girl got sick, our landlord (we were renting at the time) suggested Juliana, and she's been with us ever since.  We don't know what happened to her husband because she refuses to speak of him, but he has been out of the picture for twelve years.  She had two sons and two daughters when she started with us.  The oldest boy, Samson, is now married with a child and drives a taxi in Mwanza.  Her other son, Fabiani, is around nineteen and lives at home getting odd jobs as a day laborer when he can.  Her oldest daughter, Gracie, died at age fifteen, five days after giving birth to Charlini.  She also has a daughter named Lightness, who is now in secondary school (we pay for her fees and uniforms) and is doing really well in school.  Lightness was ill, so Juliana took the day off today to take her to the hospital (more like a clinic) where they diagnosed her with typhoid.  She's gotten medication and as she is very strong and a healthy young girl, she should be fine in a few days.  We were there with Gracie when she died (high blood pressure--kills many mothers here) and there when Charlini was christened.  Charlini is actually named for me (Charles feminized into Charlini) and we have watched her grow up.  At first, we suggested we put her in the orphanage in Bweri we support for her first two years, but Juliana wouldn't hear of it.  We paid for the special formula she needed since she couldn't be breast fed and have helped her whenever she needed it for the last four years.  Charlini is in preschool now and comes here around lunch time in her school uniform and runs and hugs us, keeping us cheerful.  Juliana cooks and cleans for us, and does the shopping.  Lusi comes early and leaves early and cooks breakfast, cleans the main rooms, and does all the washing and ironing.  Juliana cooks lunch and dinner, cleans our bedroom and John's, and puts away all the clothes that Lusi has washed and ironed (all by hand).  When Lusi or one of her children is sick, then Juliana does everything as does Lusi when Juliana can't be there.  Sickness and funerals are such a part of life here that we almost never have all our workers here on any single day, but we are very happy we can employ them, provide social security, pay for their medical needs, and help with their children's school fees.  We pay all of them about four times the national average which puts them in the upper middle class in their society but the total amount a month for all of them is around a thousand dollars, so for eight full time people, that's not a lot by American standards, but it is what we can afford and love to do it.  They pray for us when we are sick and we treat all of them like family.  It was hard to get used to having so many people around all the time, but now we miss them every day they have to be away.  We are blessed by them and very thankful to God to allow us to help them as they help us.  Kinda the way the world ought to be, eh?   (click on picture of Juliana to see Charlini)
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