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The vacuum is a fairly common appliance in the North American household but not in the typical African household (along with clean running water and electricity so I suppose it makes sense.) I pulled it out when training my menagère as sweeping can be so arduous not to mention all the little bits that get left between the cracks of our wooden floors. She looked at it with horror and terror in her eyes.
I quickly pulled out the cord, put everything together, turned it on and did a brief demonstration before abruptly handing it over to her to give it a whirl. She abruptly handed it back to me and asked me to show her again, this time a bit slower. After another orientation with the vacuum, she decided she was ready to give it a try although she did ask me to stay close and watch her for a bit just to make sure everything went alright. I hadn't even thought how foreign this might be to her.
I watched her that first morning slowly and timidly pushing the vacuum around wondering if she'd ever feel comfortable using it or if it would go back in the cupboard never to be touched again. Each week she pulled it out and after some practise, she was quick and confident.
Last week she went on maternity leave but beforehand she gave her replacement a tour of the house and a brief rundown as to how she organised her week. When she got to the vacuum, she pointed at it, giggled a bit and told me I'd have to give another demonstration. Round 2 went a bit better but I'm sure they both think we're crazy for lugging around this big, noisy thing when there's a broom just around the corner.