Maid Wages

November 7, 2007

Conversation with a a maid:

“You get paid KD45 a month?”

“Yes, it’s triple the amount I was getting paid as a fifth grade teacher in the Philippines. Is cleaning, cooking, watching children tiring and not the greatest job on earth? Yes. But it paid for my daughter to go to private school, college, and now she’s thinking of medical school. I also put my sister through nursing school with my wages. My daughter is going to have a better life than mine. I’m taking care of people I love back home. It’s worth it.”



  1. Maybe we should move to the Philippines. Our dinars would go a very long way 🙂

  2. Really. I know Indian maids who, after working four years or so, had enough to buy land and build a home in their country. A small plot of land in the cheaper sections of Kuwait now cost KD200,000.

  3. why else would so many of them put up with so much crap from their employers if they didnt think it was worth it

  4. Yep. Same could be said about a lot of workers, regardless of their industries.

  5. This just shows u how some ppl give up so much just to make a better life for their loved ones.

    You’d think that some employers would have the decency to treat them with respect. After all, its not easy leaving ur kids behind and see them once every 2 years.

  6. I have hope that most employers treat them with respect but then again, I’m an optimist.

  7. This is really touching ..

  8. At the end of the day it just goes to show that if you have clear priorities and are willing to put in the effort, you really can get what you want. Hard work in whatever work field will pay off, there is no doubt about it. Its a simple formula and not there secret way of going about it.

    We often hear amazing rags to riches stories or stories of how people in low wage jobs achieve so much and its always same, they had a goal to work towards and they went out and achieved it. When they tell you their story they always tell you exactly what their goals are and what they were/are working towards. I admire that because I’ve found that hard to pin down and that lots of people have vague goals, a fuzzy mishmash of dreams, and a couple of brainstorms on how to get there but nothing concrete. The amazing factor isn’t really because the concept of a poor person becoming rich is unthinkable or that being able to save and keep adding small amounts of money together every month till it becomes a lot of money is something so impossible to fathom. The amazing part is our admiration that someone who started life, (for lack of a better word) ‘out of luck’ (or rather, happened to be born less affluent than us because obviously its usually those who we are most impressed with) managed to have the willpower, determination, patience and strength to actually go through with it till they achieved tangible results. Ones that we can identify with because they are on the same level of the ‘achievement bar’ that we aspire to (university education, good job, security of home ownership etc). I mean, buying a sweater can be a brilliant achievement to someone but its difficult to relate to sometimes, know what i mean?

    I think that the only reason we are sometimes deluded is because we live a lifestyle where we always want results ‘Now!’ and want to see money piling up straight away. In a way its also something like, “Well if they earn such and such amount, and can get that much, *insert brain calculation buzz* and i make such and such amount just think what i could get in the same amount of time! *insert manic billionaire daydream buzz*”..but then the thought of what we would need to give up, and how much hard work it would be and the people and experiences we might miss in the time it takes to get there is dizzying, and we think, “nah, good for so and so to have made it, wow, *puts them on list of admired people* but me, ill just plod along living just as i do, plod plod plod..and walks off to do * insert favourite everyday activity*”..lol

    Thats not to say that we suck for doing so of coarse but rather that we should know that we have a choice, and it should make us feel better and give us hope. If we want to do great things and achieve, well, we know how to go about it and have seen that it is possible…and if we don’t, well, we can just keep plodding along. Whatever rocks your boat,it doesn’t mean we would be any less happier or less worthy people.

    I agree with you Stinni, and also have the optimist viewpoint on things generally. I also tend to hope that most employers treat them with respect and that the sensational stories we hear are just the minority black sheep of society. Scuzi for the mammoth comment lol, but I’ve thought about this a lot before and wanted to share my bit too.
    tc mwah

  9. Stinni how are you? 🙂 You have really been missed. I haven’t visited you in a long time (please forgive me) and am overjoyed to see your beautiful and elegant blog.

    I often have this conversation with our maids when the subject comes up: You never know in life, when the tables of fate will be overturned. Who knows, maybe one day I might need to become a homeworker/maid (whatever is politically correct) to support my family too. And I know that I would do whatever it took short of prostituting myself to give them a better life. The fact that 45 KD (which we shameless Kuwaities could easily blow on a trip to TSC or at the Lancome counter at Va Va Voom) can put kids through school and puts warm clothes on their bodies and buys good food to eat puts things into perspective about our wasteful lives here in Kuwait, doesn’t it….

  10. Laila – You know how much I appreciate your comments and the longer the better. I’ve always believed that with hard work and determination – the world is your oyster. 🙂

    Ms. Baker – Your comment reminds me of the ads on Dubai One channel. They make the comparison of spending money on makeup and how it could have been used to buy textbooks for a student for the entire year or something. They also show clips of the Emir of Dubai talking to an audience and addressing them as “friends” (so cool) and saying how success for one is a success for others. The failure of one is a failure for all. It’s a campaign for donations to help a million children in the world. It’s very inspiring.

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