I love my home. I hate cleaning it. And when you live in the desert literally 5m from a whole heap of sand, a large fleet of trucks and a fancy digger then cleaning is a constant. Except when you don’t. Long ago I gave up the idea of dust free surfaces, just as I’ve come to terms with grit on my teeth and an entrance that lets you leave your footprints… both coming and going. Yip, that desert across the road succeeds at moving in and making itself completely at home – daily. And I let it. Its called picking ones battles, people.
A couple days ago with high humidity added to the mix, the never ending grime was tolerable, then less tolerable and then freak out, I cannot-stand-this-anymore. So I rang 911! Well not quite, but I did ring the cleaning company and ask for not one, not two but three ladies to come and dive in at the deep clean. Three little Filipino ladies arrived and spent a morning scribbling in the dust, scrubbing the floors and generally, minute by minute becoming my most favourite people in the whole world. They worked so hard and so diligently, with swipes and smiles in equal arcs, doing a job I so vehemently hate – so very beautifully.
And what better way to create community than to bake some cupcakes in my beautifully cleaned oven and make some tea in a sparkling pot after they’d worked their way out of the kitchen and up the stairs. And when they’d done their dirty deeds, to join me around my kitchen table and to tell me their stories.
It never ceases to amaze me how a mother heart works. I know – I am one but it still jaw-drop-floors me to what lengths mothers will go to protect and nurture their babies futures. So much so that they will move half way across the world to work for a pittance, way out of any comfort zone, rarely to be treated well, and just to send a few desperately needed dollars back home, far far away.
Between them these three ladies have seven children. Some being looked after by grandmothers, others by fathers and another by an aunt. Mother and child speak once or as a rarity twice a week and only get to go home once every two or three years and then only if they have enough money to pay for the flight.
Hot beds, 6 day weeks, long hours, few luxuries with passports and dignity removed to give seven boys and girls a future better than they have.
And yet, each of these precious people had a smile as wide as the strokes they used to clean the floors. As they babbled away to each other in Tagalog, I heard bursts of laughter and lightness. And they could not stop thanking me for a simple cup of tea and a cupcake, but more so, the chance to sit down for a few minutes in the middle of the day, before rushing off to clean yet another floor and ceiling.
One word: RESPECT.