I was talking to someone about how I need house help. She replied by saying, “Well, ‘need’ house help?” I have to admit that while I did clamp my mouth shut, nod as if to admit my pitiful inability to manage a home, and walk away, inside I was screaming. NEED? NEED? You have house help too; yours just doesn’t have a soul. If you have a dishwasher, vacuum cleaner, dryer, or even a mop, you have house help. If you have a store where you can buy fresh food and cleaning supplies in the same place, you have house help. If you can use a crock pot and don’t have to bleach your food, you have house help.
As I continued to argue in my head (since I’m much too cowardly to do it in person), my eyes were opened to many other ways I NEED my helper, not just “need.” Everyone here hires someone. It’s how you share resources and community. She helps me fit in by “letting” me employ her. She is my source of local information. The only news here comes via radio, with lots of static and in rapid-fire Swahili or French, which is impossible for me to follow. Some days she’s the only friend I see. (Maybe it seems like I’m paying her to be my friend, and frankly, I’m okay with that.) She teaches me vital life skills (like manioc flour and wheat flour are NOT the same thing). She keeps me in good standing with my neighbors by finding out who had a death in the family so that I can send sugar to them. She loves my children fiercely, as if she was also their mother (and often brags about “our kids”). And she challenges me to love and trust Jesus just by the way she faithfully lives out each day. Do I “need” her? Yes. Do I NEED her? Yes. So maybe I’ll just calm down and be thankful that she is in my life.