The Help

A few months ago I devoured the book The Help. The narration and story really held my attention and I continue to think about it, especially in Indonesia.

You don’t have maids in Oregon. Maybe you call the Maid Brigade to clean your house once a month in Oregon. But to have a maid work in your house all day or even live with you is practically unheard of.

Well, you do here. It’s actually expected. And almost every single house has a maids quarters built in, usually consisting of a small room and bathroom with a mandi around the back. (Remember the toilet issue in The Help? I was shocked to see that here.)

I hear even maids have maids here. (By the way, maids are called Pembantus in Indonesia) Why? How I understand it, it’s about contributing to the community. Your money is shared and more people have jobs. And boy do Indonesians know how to create jobs. More on that in a later post…

So when we arrived to the “Meh” house, we were kind of gifted Greg’s old maid. Emphasis on old. She cleaned for a few hours each morning and refused to speak to us. After two weeks of this, we asked our friend if she could recommend a new maid. After a day training this new maid, she quit. We were disappointed because she got along with Ellie pretty well. We found out she didn’t really want to work anyway, so we’re trying not to take it personally. A day later (today) we get a message at 7:00 am that a new maid is coming over to negotiate the job.

Oh boy. With an agreement to clean, launder, buy food from street vendors, let us practice speaking Indonesian with her, and maybe cook for us a little, we locked in a new maid for about 600,000 rupiah a month. (around $60). Not bad. Let’s hope this one works out…


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