In August last year, when I first met my Khartoum household help, Mirriam, I knew she and I would get on well. She couldn't speak any English and I could speak even less Arabic, but that didn't pose any problem. She works for me on Mondays and Thursdays and for Issam, the general manager on Wednesdays and Sundays.
After being on leave for more than two months, Issam had a substantial amount of washing. Last Wednesday as Mirriam arrived at his flat downstairs, the power failed. Grant phoned me from work and said he was coming home to start the generator. He also said that Mirriam would need to do Issam's washing in our tub as his is broken.
A while later, Mirriam came up the stairs to my flat, dragging the largest bag of washing I have ever seen. She set to work washing, spinning, hanging items on my clothes line; in between, popping downstairs to do the housework. At about 1pm she began to iron. She ploughed on valiantly but at 2pm she packed up and she said she would finish Issam's ironing the next day. I wondered how she would fit it with her work at my flat, but knew she would somehow.
When Mirriam arrived the next morning, she was not alone; she had another woman with two small children with her. She introduced her companion as her sister Safira. She said Safira had come along to help with Issam's ironing. I thought this was very innovative of Mirriam and welcomed them both.
The children were so well-haved while their mum did the ironing. Here in Khartoum it's the first time I've seen anyone iron on the floor, but it obviously works well!
Throughout the morning, while Safira ironed I took a few photos. I was so impressed at how well-behaved the three-year-old was. I gave her a few highlighters and sheets of paper to keep her amused. The baby, also a girl, was fed, put down on the floor next to her mum, where she fell asleep.
Once the ladies were dressed in their street clothes, I asked them to pose for me. Yesterday I printed the photos, Grant cut them and we gave them to Mirriam.
For other posts on That's my World, Tuesday - hosted by Klaus, and team members Sandy, Sylvia, Louise and Fishing Guy - click here