We Four in Egypt

Now back in the US!

The amazing housekeeper

Desta, the new housekeeper, started on Monday, and she’s incredible. She cooks, she cleans, she does laundry, she irons, she washes dishes… and she does all this without prompting. She’s a professional person who knows how to do all these things! Plus she’s a lovely person to have in the house, evident especially in her interactions with the boys.

She surprised us the first night by asking what she should make for dinner. Mr. Four had been planning on burritos, so she chopped up the veggies and he did the rest. But after dinner we talked to her about making some Ethiopian food for us, and indeed she did, last night. I couldn’t enjoy it completely as I was sick, but her misr wat was delicious. Mr. Four commented that he had forgotten just how good Ethiopian food is–we don’t eat it because of the kids, but because we love it!

And Bug liked it too.

Happiest of all, though, was Giggle. At first he asked for a spoon (Desta is still tracking down injera ingredients, so we subsituted brown bread), til Desta chided him into eating with his hands. And then while he sopped up the misr with the bread, he became so happy and animated. Our local Ethiopian restaurant back in the States closed just before Giggle got there, so the only Ethiopian food he’d eaten in two months were my attempts at kik alitcha and some injera we had frozen. Last night it was like watching him blossom.

In fact, Giggle was so happy, he was willing to use some of his Amharic. He’s been resistant to it the few times he’s heard it since we left Ethiopia. But a few bites of misr had him saying, when prompted, “Amasegenalo!” (thank you) to Desta.

Next week, once we have injera, Desta is going to make more Ethiopian food more regularly for us. And soon we’ll invite folks over for dinner and serve them good Ethiopian food, rather than our feeble attempts at it, to try to bribe them into being friends with us.

And having a housekeeper is just incredible. My work day ends early by US standards, so I’m often home around 4 or so. And then I can just hang out with the boys. And Mr. Four can hang out with us. And the house is clean and none of us are worried about chores. It’s lovely.

And I know there are some people (hi Mom!) who be glad to know my clothes, including the linen, are getting ironed so I’m not embarassing myself or my family on the streets of Cairo.

It is weird for us to have a household employee. But she is so professional that it makes it easier for us. I think we’re good employers–we’re paying her what seems to be a good wage, and her working hours are reasonable, and she is welcome to eat food here or take it home if she wants (indeed, she took home some of Mr. Four’s lasagne tonight).

How else can we be good employers? I’d love to know. In the meantime, we do say thank you, because we mean it.


5 September 2007 - Posted by | ethiopia, food, nanny, our life in egypt


  1. All your experiences are just amazing to read about! I think you are doing a great job of being good employers. It sounds like you have started a really neat relationship. I hope you feel better!

    Comment by Libby | 6 September 2007

  2. Just wait until you go back to the US for a while. I was really put out that dirty dishes and dirty clothes didn’t magically transform into clean ones, put away.

    Comment by Marc | 7 September 2007

  3. Libby, thanks for your thoughts and for stopping by!

    Marc, that is my great fear. How will we ever go back?

    Comment by egypt4 | 7 September 2007

  4. You are making it AWFULLY tempting to pack up all of our stuff and move on over to Egypt… someone to COOK and clean for me??? Sooooooo tempting. 🙂

    thanks for blogging… it’s lots of fun to read (even if it makes me a wee bit green!)

    Comment by Erin | 7 September 2007

  5. Erin, I think if you could find a place big enough to fit you all, you’d love it here! You are such an efficient woman now, just think of all you’d get done without all that laundry.

    Comment by egypt4 | 8 September 2007

  6. I’m in dire need of a great professional house keeper. Can you give me some advice on where to find one? I’m in New Cairo. Thanks

    Comment by Robin | 5 December 2008

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