It’s standard practice in Indonesia that people who have a house and children also have help running the house and watching the kiddos. Frequently this help is from extended family but if not, from a “Pembantu” (helper). Since Papua is an area that is socially in flux with lots of societal change and immigration, I didn’t know if we would be able to find a pembantu that could work in our home 30 minutes out of town.
Last year, through our church, we found a lady that lived just five minutes on foot across the main road form us. Ibu Deli brought her son, who was Judah’s age, and was a quiet and diligent help around our house. Just days after we left for the USA, Ibu Deli and her husband left Manokwari in search of a job for him. We were sad to lose Judah’s buddy and Ibu Deli’s sweet presence, and I was so worried about managing life with a newborn without help!
When we got back to Manokwari we talked to a few people in town that were looking for work, but they all lived far away and were looking for full-time position. Some were looking for a live-in position. I just needed someone to come a few times a week for a few hours to help me with cleaning, and it seemed like nothing was working. I was praying over this and decided to give up on looking through the in-town circuits. This area around us is filled with new immigrants from all over the country, surely there were people who would be happy to have a few hours of work near their home. It’s our goal to provide a good wage and bless whoever is working in our home.
So, late one afternoon I left the kids with Isaac and went walking, determined to just talk to people on the road and in the neighborhoods and little shops and ask if anyone knew of anyone looking for in-home work. It was great! In the end, it was the very first lady I talked to that day whose niece was looking for work but had a two year old son she was still caring for. I told her that she was welcome to bring her son with her and see how it went. Ibu Yuli and her son Ahyan ended up working for us for two and half months, and were such an answer to prayer. Ibu Yuli came here from another island in Indonesia. She is a pro-active, intelligent, motivated lady who helped me get the right price at the market, helped me with my Indonesian work, and even helped cook lunch sometimes. Yuli’s son Ahyan was a hilarious kid who ran around with our kids, adding to their Indonesian language exposure.
Two weeks ago Ibu Yuli told me she was going back to her pre-kiddo full-time position, and now we sorely miss her and Ahyan. It’s a little hard for me to describe what life is like here without help. I mean, in the US the idea of having a maid would have been ridiculous for me! Here, however, without dishwashers, clothes dryers, a trash system, heated water, and very little frozen or pre-packaged instant foods, there is a lot more work done by hand at home. On my own I am able to get clothes washed and food on the table and keep the kids alive, but it means the kids don’t get much good time with mama, I never leave home, and I can't get any non-essential work done. It also means I keep working to get those basics done from sunrise till 10:30 pm, and I am strained, likely to get sick, and internally overwhelmed. Honestly, that's been the past two weeks for me.
With that in mind, would ya’ll pray that I find a new helper?