I am facing moral and practical puzzle, which I somehow feel a responsibility to share and not stay completely alone with my limited personal reasoning.
Two young women, sisters, 21 and 18, are living with our family, working as helpers to us.Stereotypical scenario, poor (but loving (!)) family. Third sister 13. Mother, seaming very nice lady. Father lost his ‘business’ and now he is only sitting. ‘Now’ now means for years. Girls dropped out of school obviously at the same time – in 10th/7th grade. Older one can be supposed to have gone ‘for work’ on that time (15), as she has 5 years experience as a sails girl and one year as a caretaker. Their perspective is to get married, after this financial crisis is over (?), settle down and have kids (Wish them deserving husbands).
Both girls are beautiful and tall in addition to their happy, kind and humble nature. (*Humble I don’t assimilate with obedience, though I do assimilate it with order; to be humble out of obedience is to grow arrogant in yourself; but I’d like to see humbleness in every human. And I would expect to see more of it, lesser the person is expected to be obedient to someone or whatever something)
And this is not a marriage add. Just to be clear on that.About the girls, to say that I have never seen a more solid attitude of a person in such position, would be to not do them justice at all. I believe that I am privileged. By all meanings of the word.
Coming from another universe, where ‘no man has right to have servants’ (though they invented other names for the purpose), my childish moral sense is roaring ferociously those terms that I will believe in until I die.
I cannot just exploit the misfortune of those young humans, giving them ‘fair market price’ for the labor and ‘food on a top’.Those kids should be going to school nowadays, not working at my place!
Full of that thinking I looked for an English teacher (still looking for one who is not going to see me as a big foreign company per se), bought bunch of DVDs…Asked around about the options for finishing high school part-time or so…If you are laughing now, you must be less naïve than I was.
Unrelated to that, two days ago, one of the girls wants to talk to me. With the interpretation of the driver, as girls speak English a few words.What she is asking from me is 30 thousand rupees that they will then return monthly in rates of 5. The reason they need the money is to return the loan their family once took and its interest is oppressing them.
Unfortunately (or fortunately – who knows - for someone; maybe all), I don’t have that amount to extract from what I have in power. I explained my position and advised her to the right address for their request.
Yesterday, devil set on my right shoulder, and I couldn’t resist but to address.I asked them to join me at the kitchen table.I repeated my concern for the problem they came to me with, reassuring them about how to proceed to their case, and then I asked them about how they see their circumstances and what they see as own perspectives. I asked about school and other premises to independence.
To my grater disappointment, school does not interest them at all (imagining the school they must have been attending, I wouldn’t be carrying such nice memories of it myself). But ‘what to do’? – I asked myself and proceeded to the question of what is it, then, that interests them? What is it that they would see as a profession?
Again I was surprised. The younger one is
‘stitching’ sari blouses and stuff. Older wants to be a sales girl in a clothes
I asked about blouses, models, prices and
all – 50 rupees for stitching one blouse. Fifty rupees. For work. On one
blouse. She showed me the one she made by the hand. Nothing to find fault with
it. And very creative in-deed. I told her that I’ll land to her my sawing
machine, that we will look at the models she is using, and that I will be her
first customer to stitch the blows for. I suggested that I will for that work
pay 200 rupees. (Today I showed her a machine and gave her video tutorials. I
took out of the closet sari to stitch the blouse for)
With the older one we agreed that she needs to learn proper English. DVDs are not providing enough support for learning.
So that is a state of the matter. I don’t know much here at all. What is going to happen?
I can’t stop thinking of 30 thousand dept. It’s not ‘just out of the pocket’ however you decide to look at us. From our perspective it could appear like buying the depth that we didn’t create without interest. But is? Is it really without interest? And is it really true, even beyond personal, that we didn’t create that depth? With our way of life?
From their perspective, it would be a relief from the oppression of interest, yet in exchange for the grater oppression – to return that amount to us who are paying their salary…
Not to argue against giving; I believe that right thing is to help them; but to ask myself again and again:How can I help better then that?