I know you probably already think we are spoiled with a housekeeper/nanny who works for our family full time. And we are. Even if that is the status quo around here and even if we have way fewer Tanzanian staff then everyone else we know, we are still spoiled. It is a luxury we will definitely miss whenever it is that we are not here anymore. But since our days here may or may not be numbered (job security, oh job security! where art thou!), we decided to up the ante on our spoiled-luxury.
And to backtrack a bit, we have had a variety of different attempts at having a cook in the last several years:
- first full time (mentally unstable) housekeeper in Nairobi was also supposed to be a cook but she was pretty awful (and also mentally unstable)
- next part time housekeeper was also a part-time cook and was OK at that, but nicked a few things that didn't belong to her and in general lost her willingness to work hard over time
- third attempt in Nairobi was our once-a-week cook who made 6 meals in one day that we froze and ate throughout the week. She was decent - but a big personality to have around, and also we missed eating anything FRESH.
- fourth cook: a great guy here who was a really good cook but was WAY too overbooked and did not make us his priority. He stopped meal planning altogether and would send me badly timed text messages with ingredients to buy, and would then not show up to cook. It made my blood boil and we've been separated for a few months now.
This brings us up to date, and our newest effort is a man named Christopher (for real) and he has been cooking in our neighborhood for different hotels or families for the last 15 years, although he comes from Malawi originally. The family he worked for for 3 years just moved and I was lucky enough to be the first one to interview him and offer him a job. He had quite a few interviews and offers, but we mutually picked each other I guess. He will work for us full time and will do most of the shopping, cooking, cleaning the kitchen/dishes and if he has time might help with the ironing. This also frees Rose up to spend more time with the kids IF/WHEN I get a new or more full-time job (for which I am always on the lookout).
I know - it sounds ridiculous when I read it. I even feel a little guilty as I am typing it out. But I actually dislike cooking, am not particularly good at it, and it especially stresses me out to do here where you can't get what you can get at home and have to go to 4 different stores to find the ingredients you need. So now that is his job. We're only on day 3 so I should not sing his praises yet (I've done that before! It always starts out great, right?!), but he is just a very nice man who communicates well and can cook. What's not to like?! Also when he and I went to the three stores together on Monday, I realized that EVERYONE who works EVERYWHERE knows him by name and was happy to see he has a new boss, etc. He has good street cred, which is always a plus in my book.
So even if we are on our way out of the country in February (which, again, may or may not be the case) we can at least enjoy our last opportunity to be spoiled rotten. Let's just see if his chicken pot pie is as good as the last guy's!