The Conclusion – To Menagere or Not?

Friday, 12 August 2011

Awhile back I posted about menageres (aka maids) and expressed my uncertainty about hiring one.  I went back and forth over the past year and then an opportunity presented itself – a friend of mine was going back to Australia after 3 years in Port Gentil and of course, she was letting her staff go.  (She was an extreme – she held a staff of 6: 2 menageres, 2 guards, a nanny of sorts & a tutor.  She started with the guards and 1 menagere and each year added on!)

Christiana came highly recommended.  She worked with my friends for the entirety of their stay in Gabon and was reliable and trustworthy and the timing was perfect – our friends left in July and we arrived in August ready for our new apartment.

Currently, she is set to work Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm for a salary of 150 000 per month ($300.)  Obviously, we don’t need someone that often so many days I’ll send her home at lunch but we wanted to make sure that we didn’t give her too slack a schedule because then it might be hard to change afterwards.

There have been a couple of perks aside from not having to clean that I didn’t foresee:

  • When we need something done at the house (a plumber, electrician, A/C maintenance, etc.) I don’t have to sit around waiting all day wondering when they are going to show up because Christiana is here.

  • If there is a problem (like our new oven not working) I can explain to Christiana and she will phone someone for me so that I don’t have to do the dreaded French phone calls.  (Christiana does not speak English but she worked with English people the last 3 years so she’s a bit more intuitive when it comes to figuring out what I’m saying if I’m not sure of the words in French.)

  • She is great at ironing so even my sheets get pressed.

  • I’ve been getting a ton of practice speaking in French and she corrects me and teaches me new words all of the time.


So far, so good and fingers crossed that it continues on this path!




  1. Would you like to swap Menageres?

  2. Who are we? And why do we have maids?

  3. How will we ever readjust to 'normal' life where we have to cook and clean all on our own?


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