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Helper and basic hygiene

  1. #1
    Gracey is offline Registered User
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    Helper and basic hygiene

    We generally like our helper, who's been with us since June. We picked someone who was a 30-something mother herself, a college grad, and who has lived in HK before. We didn't want to do tons of training.

    She seems responsible, calm, good with the baby, good with housework, normally intelligent, etc.

    But I noticed she didn't wash her hands after going to the bathroom. My husband and I checked a few times and listened to the toilet flush and... nope, no running water. She's go straight from the bathroom to handling an infant or preparing food.

    I was embarrassed about bringing it up, so I made up some small talk. "I bought this special anti-bacterial soap for your bathroom for you to use..." She didn't get the hint. So finally I commanded that she wash her hands after going.

    At first, she only did so when she was going to handle the baby. We had another conversation. I was so mortified to say these words to a fellow adult. "You must wash your hands every time you poo or pee."

    My dad noticed she used the same kitchen sink where we soak Chinese vegetables for rinsing out dirty mops, etc., instead of using the plastic pail.

    Speaking of vegetables, when she started, she would try to cook vegetables that were totally unwashed, with clumps of dirt left on mushrooms.

    Once I caught her before she cleaned out the cat's litter tray in that same kitchen sink! We had a long talk about separating waste -- human and animal -- from food preparation. She now rinses the litter tray elsewhere.

    She's obediant. She has taken all my directions to heart, but I don't think the larger lesson sank in about basic hygiene. No offense to the Philippines, but no wonder there are still diseases among children there from dirty water or lack of hygiene.

    It's so frustrating. I don't want to be the kind of Chinese employer who watches her helper like a hawk and complains about "dirty Filipinas."

    But how does a 30-something not know this stuff?

  2. #2
    jvn
    jvn is offline Registered User
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    I'm pretty sure the YWCA runs a hygiene course, it may help to send her to that to reinforce the message.

  3. #3
    mummymoo is offline Registered User
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    Gracey, I think the only thing you can assume is that if you want something done you need to be really explicit to your helper. I think there are different hygiene levels and expectations between different countries and even different households. Be glad that you helper has a good attitude and takes it on board and changes what she does. I've had the experience where the helper becomes very sulky when picked up about basic hygiene issues.

    The other thing to watch out for is if they do things when you are looking and then revert to their old bad habits when you're not looking. Unfortunately not that much that you can do if this happens except to start afresh or accept it. One of the many issues when you don't look after your own babies...sigh....

  4. #4
    Gracey is offline Registered User
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    Thanks guys!
    I hope my comment wasn't too harsh. I didn't mean to stereotype. And I didn't mean to be mean-spirited about ill children in poor countries. (I tried to take that sentence after out but the website wouldn't let me!)

    @ Mummymoo -- I am lucky because my helper is cheerful and willing to learn. She's not sulky and has not taken my suggestions badly. I think she will continue to follow my instructions because she seems to genuinely care for the baby. I think she just didn't know.

    I hear you about taking care of our own babies. Right now, I'm at home all day and able to notice this stuff. When baby is 5-6 months, I will have to go back to work.

  5. #5
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    maybe do a search of diseases that are transmitted via unsanitary practices? then present the outcome to her? (in as vivid detail as possible! include photos!)

    do it for food hygeine and toilet hygeine... maybe that will help?

  6. #6
    Newbie_hk is offline Registered User
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    Here's the course and link that JVN mentioned. Sound interesting and certainly very useful:

    http://www.esmdywca.org.hk/Courses/C...urseid=1007854

    Health & Hygiene for Helpers

    Course Code CHP129
    Start Date 11 Oct 2011
    End Date 18 Oct 2011
    Times 10:00AM - 12:00PM

    Days Tuesday
    Member Fee 460.00
    Non-Member Fee 530.00
    Total Session(s) 2

    The first part of this course covers vital subjects such as personal and kitchen hygiene, correct food storage and best practices to avoid cross contamination.

    In the second session, the focus will be on nutrition; from protein-rich meat and fish, to vitamin-packed fruit and vegetables. Learn how to eat a balanced diet and maximize the health benefits from food.

    A certificate is awarded to everyone who completes the course.

  7. #7
    Gracey is offline Registered User
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    My helper now washes her hands constantly! So that's good.
    But yesterday, when I was Bfing and talking to my husband in the living room, I noticed she was standing at my kitchen counter clipping her nails. (We have an open kitchen / LR area). And she was doing it on top of one of my clean kitchen towels I used for dishes and cooking.
    Sigh. Should I bring this one up, too?
    BTW, she doesn't live here, so I don't know why she's attending to personal hygiene while on work hours. But the main thing is I don't want to find some stray dirty fingernail in my food later!

  8. #8
    mummymoo is offline Registered User
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    That's really, really disgusting. I would have picked her up on it straight away but I get how hard it is to say these things to other adults. Your comment

    I was so mortified to say these words to a fellow adult. "You must wash your hands every time you poo or pee."

    Totally rings true. This would be another one of those times....sigh.....

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