Monday, November 28, 2011

Host momma drama

I've been with my current host family since September 11. I don't want to talk smack about them, but things could've been improved upon Greatly in that household. They didn't get any better, the longer I stayed there.

More than 2months later, things went completely south! There was no hot water (for me), no food (for me). I'd see the host mom frying chicken and baking vetkoek / fat cakes, the next minute, there's overcooked rice with tons and tons of water on the stove for me to eat with bread. Go figure!
Sometimes. I'd smell food, hear plates in the kitchen. Then when I go make something to eat, there would be nothing in the kitchen. The dishes will be done and the kitchen will be super clean. She'd be right there in the kitchen (the host mom), and would say nothing when she sees me reaching for the fridge looking for food. Then I'd go to the shop to get bread. Only then would she wait for me outside the apartment to tell me break will be ready in 2minutes. BREAD! REALLY! You can see that I just bought bread, what am I to do? Flush this load down the drain and wait, 2minutes for yours?
I'd put my left over bread in the bread 'bin'. She'd take it out, I'd later find it on the table, lounging there by its lonesome.

I remember this one time, I went to make myself something to eat and found only stale bread in the kitchen. I looked at it and choked up. I opened the fridge up and there was nothing to have with the bread. I asked her if she had eggs. She went like, 'what?' EGGS! 'Oh, no babala! No eggs, edge? Eg? Eggs? Edges?' Basically, my search for food had become an English lesson where I had to teach her how to pronounce egg. She didn't care that I was starving and needed something to have with the bread besides the moulding butter! I was fuming.

I buttered up my bread, with the not-so-moulded parts and took it to my room. Mind you, I don't take any beverages, no coffee, tea, coke or any such stuff. Which means, I pay this woman monthly for food and accommodation, for her to feed me stale bread with rotten butter, and let me shower with cold water and sleep on a couch in her dining room in a house that smells like a night club because she's a chain smoker. She would insist I seat in the kitchen table and eat while she blows smoke right into my face! Of course, I don't her, I wasn't about to do that! I'd go eat in my room, if I didn't find hair in my food. Otherwise, show it to her and throw the food away. I'm sorry, I didn't come all the way here from South Africa and pay her every month to eat her hair.

I asked to be moved. A week later, they found me a new family. This is after things had become rather strange at 'home'. Host mom was screaming and yelling a lot. She was crying half the time and beating the kid up. The kid was crying a lot. It was insane. And they'd never acted like that before. Sometimes I'd hear my name, then the yelling would begin. I didn't know if any of this had something to do with me and wasn't about to ask them. I just wanted OUT! ASAP.

I got the call about my (4th) move Friday night. I was so excited! By then, I'd been having cold showers and buying my own food every single day. Nobody had been talking to me at 'home'. Before they used to keep an eye on me, if I as much as went to fetch some water in the kitchen, someone would jump and wander about in the kitchen until I finished what I was doing. My host dad's thing was to put his shoes on. Whenever I was in the kitchen, he'd come put his shoes on, with his eye on me the entire time. Once, I was so fed up, once he came in to 'put his shoes on', I walked out. I left the food on the table cos I was making something to eat. He left the house, I gave him a few minutes to come back. Because I knew how their minds functioned. He'd think that I wasn't onto him and come back to find me in the kitchen again, so I didn't go back. He came back! I was still in my (dining) room. I don't know what he pretended to be doing this time but he was quick. He left again. And came back again. I kid you not! Then he eventually left, or not. I never know when he's at home or not.
Lately, they'd all hang out in their room. I never got to see anybody. It was strange. From watching me like a hawk, to that!
Friday night, host mom greeted me. Lately, she wasn't talking to me. I even thought that she may have found out that I was moving. She was a lead from one of the teachers at my school. And when I requested to be moved, they asked the teachers to find me a family, so the information must've leaked. Anyway, on the rare occasion, I'd bump into host mom in the passage, and say hi, she'd ignore me. To prove that she heard me, anyone else that would be with her would greet me back, but she wouldn't.

Friday night was different. She said hi. She came to my room and asked if I wanted to go to the village with them. Of course that freaked me out. What do they want to do to me? In the 2mnths I've lived with them, they'd never taken me anywhere! Fortunately I had reports to do and couldn't go. Not that I would've if I'd nothing to do. What? And miss out on the opportunity to be home alone?

Saturday morning, I was up by 4am. I packed, and was ready by around 10. I had to be slow because I didn't want to rock up at people's houses too early. I chatted with my sis quite a bit via email. I downloaded some music videos on Youtube just in case we won't have internet where I was moving to. I called my rep around 11 and told her I was ready to leave. When she told me she was about to call my host mom who was at home cleaning, I took my key and went to find a cab. Somehow I felt uncomfortable. On my way the Rep called and told me host mom wanted me to pay the full amount before I left. I told her payment is due on the last day of the month and that's when she was going to get her as welI. And she wasn't getting the full amount. I have to deduct some money for the time I won't be there because I moved before month end and for meals. She told me she explained to her that I hadn't got paid yet and would pay her when I got my money. I told the rep, even so, she's not getting the full amount! I have the money right now, I could pay her any amount she wants, but it's not about that! Se has to wait, I'm not going to steal her money and she's still not getting the full amount. She can go fly a kite! I stopped feeling weird, but was pissed off. This was a better feeling than the weird uncomfortable feeling I had earlier. I was ready to head back to the house and have her ask me for the money to my face. I was glad that my Rep got to see this side of my host mom's because she used to call my rep and thank her for me and tell her she loves me. I'd tell my rep she's lying. Actions speak louder! She was the grateful for the money I was bringing in. It was all about money. Rep would say, oh no, kanisa, don't talk like that! First of all, my name's not Kanisa lol.
I haggled the cab driver down by 10 Lari (R40). We headed for the flat to get my stuff. I'd locked on my way out, but when I got back, I couldn't turn my key. She had pushed her key in, heaven knows what for. I'd been hardly gone for 5minutes! She opened up for me and said, 'aahhh babala!'. I said WHAT? Ready for war. She went back to the kitchen. I did finishing touches, and took my stuff to the cab. I came back for the last load. I made sure my hands were full so as not to have to give her a hug when I left. I told her where I left the key, she stood in my way and asked, 'ratom midi khar, babala?'. (Why are you leaving? I got a hug, she wouldn't let go, she kept asking why I was leaving. She cried. Ooooohhh. Lawd! I kept saying, 'I have to go'. What do you say when the course of all your miseries and your reason for leaving cries and asks you why you're leaving?

I walked out, relieved to be out of that hell hole. She stood by the door and blew me kisses. I took the lift and left.
it was a 20minute cab drive to my new place. In a few hours of arrival, I got this text from my now ex host mom: Hi least what crimet we. What grieve. Why go there? So to speak implicitly. Sometimes go in a visit.

I didn't reply partly because I didn't want to and partly because I didn't understand the message.

2hrs later, she sent me this: I am sad. Nothing undersand.

I didn't reply.
Notice how she didn't mention the money to me at all?