LAMENTATIONS OF LAMI
I watch them and so many emotions go through my mind. Where is my place on this earth? I am sure there was so much joy the day I was introduced into this beautiful world. My mother must have forgotten the pain of labour when she looked into my lovely face. She had proved she was not barren. My father must have been happy too. At least my birth showed he was indeed a man. I must have brought joy into that family.
But I think of today and I shudder. I wonder why this existence confronts me. I wonder why my parents had to die. I wonder why my aunty did not agree to take care of me. I wonder why she threw me into this place of torment. I wonder about so many things as I begin to wander through the pathways of this tunnel call life
I am still watching them and I feel so helpless. Why do thy look so happy while I seem to have a partnership with pain? Where is my reward in all this labour? I rush away from the window as they come close. She must not catch me watching her and her children.
I stay in the kitchen. The prison I have been condemned to. The palace where I spread my wings and work to serve a household that spits on my hard labour. The moment the door opens, a cold shiver runs down my shoulder.
She walks in and the little peace I found in her absence walks out the door. The children rush to me and I cuddle them. They are such a lovely bunch, their smiles and attempts to make me laugh providing the little joy I experience in this household.
‘Good afternoon ma,’ I greet her, shaking all over.
‘Stupid girl. So you have become too big to greet me eh! You have to wait till this time? You have grown wings abi?’ she says as the familiar slap lands on my face.
I do not shudder or move a muscle. Sometimes I prepare my face for it because i know as well as I know my name that she will serve me the usual dose every day. It is her favourite pastime; my entitlement. I receive it like a daily ritual. I cannot bear to look her in the face as I mumble my apologies.
‘I am sorry ma. I was just trying to attend to the children….,’
‘Shut up, you idiot. What children? You are not happy I am giving you the privilege to take care of them. Now get out of here before I lose my temper.’
I hold her children and rush out of the room, praying she does not serve me another dose of her brutal fingers. The children are used to seeing her in those foul moods and say nothing. They cling to me as I take them up the stairs to change their school uniforms.
The sound of her car disturbs the stillness of the afternoon and I think again of my predicament.
Before you think I am faceless and nameless, I am not.
I am just oppressed and made to feel invisible. I am made to be seen but not heard. Yet I slave for one who treats me like so badly.
My name is Lami. I am a maid in the home of the woman who just left in that car
I live in a house where the best things of life are. But i cannot taste of them. I hardly see food to eat though I cook my heart out. I am chained to a life of agony, abused and rejected. All because I am a maid.
I do not have a voice but I know i deserve to have one.
I do not have a place in this house but I know it should be for me a home
I do not have parents but I know I should count on this new family to take me as their own.
I was the best student in my class in secondary school but my madam took me away from the school because she was unhappy at the number of prizes I was winning.
She is threatened each time her husband treats me well.
She makes me wear rags so I will be unattractive to other men and not end up as the wife of a rich man or take her place as madam.
She tries to stop my star from shinning.
But I know my place in life.
She can stop me from singing but cannot take the melody from my heart.
I dream of greatness.
Of a life that will make this suffering a distant memory.
But while I await that time that will come someday,
I must attend to my duties.
I must serve my mistress and her family.
I must take care of kids who love me and make me have sweet dreams of motherhood.
But I must not lose my identity.
I am Lami.
I am human.
I am a lady destined for greatness.
I am me.
I deserve a great life.
How touching you will say! I wrote this monologue after I read a piece about a housemaid who was being maltreated by her madam. It is a sad reality that confronts us in our society daily. Many times we hear the stories of people who ill-treat their domestic servants. These are people who serve them so dutifully and yet they treat them like scum.
These people are humans. They have a right to live. That you have found yourself in a better place than they are gives you no right to illtreat them. That could have been you in their place. We are all products of divine grace.
When you are in a position to take a house manager(I prefer that term to housemaid which to me sounds derogatory), pray that the person does ot write the LAMENTATIONS OF LAMI against you. Pray that the person will testify of your goodness like the woman whose housemaid lived with her for years before she got married.