Lesotho: Abused by my bosses


Date: September 9, 2014
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Living in someone’s house is sometimes the worst nightmare of all, but sometimes it can be the best gift of all. I used to see people living very happily with their bosses but my case was different. I thought it could work out well for me, even end up in my going to school. My name is Thandi. I am a 24 year old woman and am from Sehong hong but I happened to live with my uncle in Leribe, who could no longer afford to support me together with his children. Then I had to look for a job elsewhere and make a life for myself.
This is where I met misery in the house of my boss. I worked with these people for two months before they showed me who they really were. It all started one afternoon when they came back from work. I had not cooked as usual because my boss lady wanted to cook for herself, I do not know what went wrong that day, she accused me of not cooking and asked what I expected them to eat. I was amazed, but I saw she was serious; she then went to the kitchen without saying anything and cooked. After the food was ready she dished for her family and mine was not there. I went to the kitchen to check but she told me to leave her kitchen.
I waited for the meal to be finished so that I could wash the dishes, while I was washing the dishes I opened the pots but they were empty. I washed everything and went to sleep crying and wondering what could have gone wrong. The next day she was fine. I cooked dinner but she got angrier than the day before and she told me never to waste her foodstuff by cooking that rubbish I call food. The mood in the house changed completely, I made sure I ate during the day and washed the pot so that she found it clean. To work for someone is not an easy task as I had thought.
I lived a very miserable life, when I turned to my male boss he would have nothing to do with it and even going to him was a waste of time, he was never the mediator. I could not leave because I did not have anywhere to go. The salary I earned gave life to my uncle and the entire family. My madam always had something to complain about every day until one day when the groceries were finished, she told me that she knew that I gave her things to my family who are poor, she called me all sorts of bad names.
My master had everything and I thought he had compassion for me but he did not because he took advantage of my misery. This man told me that I should leave his house so that I could have peace but I told him that I needed the money badly. My master told me to have sex with him and he would give me money, and promised to send me to school. I told him I could not because he was married and his wife was very cruel, she would not even want to see us talking together.
My boss told me that sleeping with him was the only way to have peace because I could leave their house so that he would be able to sponsor me in school as life became more miserable for me. I lived with wicked people who did not care for other people’s feelings. I thought it over but my conscience would not allow me, I refused his offer and that was the biggest mistake of all. My boss lied about me to his wife, saying that I seduced him and I behaved badly. I decided to leave their house with a very broken heart. The next morning when they had all gone to work and the children were at school I went home.
When my bosses arrived they checked their house and accused me of theft, just because I left before they returned home. All these incidents happened in one year. The police arrested me for theft of food and clothes which I never took. I was ordered to pay R1000.00 or sentenced to prison for the whole year. As I am writing, I was released just because of my good behaviour. My former bosses are now asking for forgiveness and want me back, but when I think of the suffering I endured in that house I always cry. Talk of working for them will be signing my death warrant. It will give them more power to think that because I am poor they can step all over me. I could not swallow my pride to go back; they took advantage of me because I told them about my poor family and how we struggled just for a single meal. They ate alone in front of me while I waited for them to finish so I could wash their dirty dishes.
The treated me like a dog just because of my poor family background, regardless of how well I worked for them. People are people regardless of their status, let us treat everybody equally and respect everybody for the kind of the job they are doing. People’s strengths and their knowledge differ.
This story is part of the “I” Stories series produced by the Gender Links encouraging the view that speaking out can set you free.

 

 


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