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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Stella and... droppin' it like it's hot

Stella is the lady that cleans our office and serves tea and coffee and does other random things as needed. When I first arrived in Kenya, having a person like Stella in the office took some getting used to. In the office in Washington, there is clear sign in the kitchen that says "Your mother doesn't work here - Clean after yourself".  That's how I've been professionally raised - Clean your own coffee cup and lunch dishes, wipe down the counter when you're done, if you come to the coffee pot and it's empty, make a new batch, etc.  I'm telling you now, Forget All That if you move anywhere in the developing world where office help is a way of life.  

I told Stella on day one that I should be washing my own coffee cup, etc and her response was "But Lenna, if you wash your coffee cup, there is no job for me".  And I learned my lesson QUICK. Now, I fully understand that each person has their job here and her job is something she takes pride in - wiping up the milk I spill is not an annoyance or embarrassing, it's what she feels she is needed for and how she makes her living.  This doesn't mean that I don't ever wash my stuff - in fact, if it's my own coffee cup or lunch dishes, I still do them - knowing full well that the majority of the Kenyan staff will leave their stuff for her to do. But, it was an interesting lesson to learn.

Me and Stella

Okay all that seriousness aside, Stella pisses me off to no end at least twice a week.  You see, after Stella and I became friendly, which was pretty early in my arrival - I realized that she finds it her job to tell me when I look fat and when I look like I'm "dropping" (that's how she says losing weight).  I no longer need a bathroom scale thanks to Stella. I know that when I arrive to the office on Monday, I will hear from Stella whether I blew my diet or whether my training has been paying off. In fact, it's gotten to where I'm nervous about seeing her and the only reason I care about what I look like at the office is so Stella will say that I look like I'm "dropping".  Sometimes I get really confused because she'll say in the morning that I look like I've been overeating, then in the afternoon, all the sudden I've "dropped". It's not even possible to lose noticeable weight in 2 hours! Then, I'll have to go dig out the muffin that I dumped in the trash in the morning since all the sudden I could afford to eat it. It's an emotional roller coaster and worse then weigh day in P.E. class back in elementary school.
So, the point of the story is - as nice as it is to not have to wash your coffee cup at work, be happy you don't have a Stella in your office. ;-)


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