Or more appropriately, Qadr Allah wa ma sha fa al. 

I write this afraid that I may come off as a self-centered spoiled brat. I’m not, but allow me to have my mini tantrum anyway.

I had a maid from Indonesia for two years. She went back home a year ago and I never ever wanted another live in again. I value my privacy and personal space. Recently, I have realised that I need some help around the house, even if it means that I may feel annoyed and smothered at times. Ideally we would have found someone who could work part time or 5 days a week and then go to their family. We coundn’t find anyone. My dh called the agencies and was told that it would be a minimum three month wait after he paid the fees to have a maid imported. Out of desperation, I asked him to find out if they had any reject maids. After calling 35 agencies, my dh was given the phone number of a Saudi man who had his maid for two months and didn’t want her anymore. This usually means trouble but I told my dh to check it out. He called the man and was told that his wife would be traveling for two months and that they did not need the maid and would get another one once she returned. He then invited us to his home. It didn’t add up to me, because if a Saudi doesn’t need a maid temporarily, they don’t get rid of her they loan her out epscially if there is a three month wait.

Well once we met him, it all made sense. His wife use to have a maid for five years who recently went back home. She has since called to say that all the money she sent back to her husband those five years, he squandered away and needs to come back. They would rather have her since they already trained her and was pleased with her. They really had no complaints about the new maid. They said she was average, very quiet (too quiet and rarely said anything), and that they had no reason to believe she practiced witchcraft (they randomly go though her belongings and suggested we do too, although we won’t and didn’t with our last maid). My dh called him later that night and told him that we would take her. He told us to give him 6000SR for what he paid the agency and to meet him at the Government Affairs office and give them 2000SR to transfer her iqama. He had already paid 600SR for her medical and 800sr for her Iqama, but was kind enough to not charge us for that. We paid 8000SR for her, if we did it on our own we would have paid 7500SR. Not that bad, because the medical and Iqama require my dh to take several days off work to get together, plus I couldn’t wait another 3 months. So far we have had her for four days. Here is a rundown:

Day 1 : The Slave Trade

The man we got her from did not inform her that he was getting rid of her until we came to pick her up! I felt terrible, because I had no idea that one could just transfer an iqama of a person without them having any knowledge or given consent. Once he delivered her to us, he gave my dh her pay for the pass two months and suggested that he hold on to it (we always gave our maid her money every month even though most just pay at the end of the contract). He then informed us that she was very upset about this and that while going through her belongings he found hair, needles, pins, and his daughters ponytail holders. These are classic signs of a maid practicing magic. She got in the car with tears in her eyes and an attitude and didn’t say a word. I understood her resentment, but I was tripping about the magic.

Shortly into the ride my dh pulled over to  the masjid. I started talking to my daughter and the maid asked me if I was Saudi. I told her no. She said, English? Yes, American. I immediately got a new best friend. She wanted to know when we were going to Amerian,let me know that she wants to come, could she stay with me the whole two years of her contract, did she have to go back to the other ‘Madame’. She was all smiles and talked nonstop. Heck if we knew what she was saying, she has the worst Arabic I ever heard. I now know what ‘maid Arabic’ is. My last maid was educated and attended the Islamic University and so her Arabic was very good. I put her in Quran school and she was better than the Saudis in her class and we insisted that she not be put in the class with the other maids or the class with the illiterates.

Day 2: Masha’Allah she is the answer to my prayers

This maid is pretty good, alhamduillah. We just worked on the kitchen today, because it needed cleaning from top to bottom, inside out. She did a great job, masha’Allah!

Day 3: When things Are Too Good To Be True…

The maid woke up this morning and started ironing clothes. I actually had the 4 bathrooms on her to do list first, but oh well. I went in to check on her progress a little bit later and she was taking a nap. It’s not nap time. Nap time is from dhur to asr (roughly 12-3:30). A little bit later she wakes up and instead of resuming the ironing she decides to just neatly fold the clothes. I’m thinking, well it is a lot of clothes and I don’t even bother putting them away. Once we get her into a routine the loads won’t be so big (I wash the clothes myself but she is to Iron and put away). I go in the kitchen to make lunch and she’s napping again! I’m exhausted…she’s had two naps. The children have begged dh to take them horse riding and I tell him to please take his time because I wanted a nap and the maid was on her third nap and it was only 5pm!

The kids are gone, the house is quiet because the maid is still sleep (I’m thrilled because she talks to me non-stop) and I take a nap on the sofa. A few minutes later she sits across from me on the love seat and ask me where is everybody. I told her they were out and I roll over. She lifts her shirt up and stands over me and tells me her stomach is hurting, swollen, and her chest hurts when she breaths. I tell her to put her shirt down and that we’ll take her to the ER. Call dh, tell him to come home that the new maid that we just forked out all of our money on is sick!

We get to the ER. The doctor asked her what hurts and how many days and writes a prescription. I was like, wait a minute! How can you make a proper assessment if you did not give her a complete examination. She says, “I’m a professional.” I tell her that I understand that but I don’t think that she can just say the woman has something as general as gastritis without ruling out other things based on other symptoms such as the swelling and the chest pain when she breaths (that she would have been aware of if she was such a professional). The doctor says, “your English is very good, where did you study.” I told her the magic words, “I AM AMERICAN.” Everything changed after that, she ordered blood work, an IV, and had her lay on the table for an examination. I told the doctor earlier that I had two theories:

1. She couldn’t handle the chili I made for dinner. The doctor is Pakistani and went on to tell me how hard chilies are on the digestive system. I was like not CHILLI PEPPERS but American Chili with Pinto, Kidney, and Black beans (I make a mean Chili).

2. Gallstones and that the attack was brought on by my Chili.

She later admitted the possibility of gallstones and then went on to baffle me. Apparently, there are different treatment methods based on where you are from. She basically told me that she wouldn’t tell the maid what was wrong with her but would give her some medicine that would make her OK for a few months. I was like, I just got her two days ago, she will be with me for two years insha’Allah. I don’t want any fake placebo meds, I want to know what is wrong with her and have her properly treated! So now we are to take her in to a specialist to have an ultrasound.

Day 4: How Ironic

I get a maid because I am sick and tired. As I have said before if dh is sick he gets sick leave, if I am sick I just deal with it, if the maid that I hire to help ease my life gets sick, I get to have her added to my list of responsibilities.

Miskeenah, she hasn’t got out of bed all day. I realised that this is an opportunity that Allah has given me to erase some more sins and gain more blessings and earn rewards, but I could not bring myself to go in her bathroom and clean it up.

The irony of it all is that (besides the fact that out of desperation we spent our life savings to bring a reject maid in and she gets sick on the third day and now I have to pay and take care of her and do her chores), my friend has found my ideal maid. She is a religious Somali woman who will live with you for 5 days a week and wants 1000SR a month (we only pay 600SR a month for our 24/7 maid but I would much rather this deal). I asked my friend to see if she would come now and she agreed but because Ramadan starts next week she wants 1500SR for Ramadan. I said cool but she cooks! Then she asked for 1750SR for cooking! I was like heck naw – the work load is light especially during Ramadan, I’m not Saudi I won’t work you like a slave and you can cook what ever you want just make enough for my family. She agreed, we pick her up after my dh gets off work tomorrow, insha’Allah.

How I will survive in a house with two other women, I don’t know. My dh is like explain to the maid she is not being replaced before she panics. I said I wasn’t explaining anything, let her panic just in case she’s faking it (I doubt it…seems real…but in this country everybody sizes up everybody and everyone always mistakes our kindness for weakness).

6000Sr Agency Fee (includes Visa and one way Airline Ticket to Saudi)

2000Sr Iqama Transfer

500Sr Clothes and personals for the maid

600Sr Monthly Salary for maid 

1500Sr Monthly Salary for Temporary Maid until Maid is better

The Irony of all this PRICELESS!