Families in Chaos As House Helps Fail to Return From Christmas


Hundreds of parents living in towns like Nairobi and Mombasa have had to skip work after their house helps failed to return from Christmas holidays.

Such parents took to social media for a better part of Tuesday and Wednesday to trade memes – trying to document chaos that have visited their respective houses after their ‘house managers’ failed to show up.

Although house helps are known for changing jobs around this time of the year – many parents were unprepared for the shock that awaited them.

That children are going back to school –  and January is a broke month – has not helped matters for most parents who have had to step in and play the house help role.

SmeIt’s chaotic to say the least.

Here are some of their reactions:

“My house help traveled to the village on December 22, 2021. She told me she would return on January 2, 2022, but now she is not even picking my calls. It’s like she has forgotten my phone number. What indignity?” Hannah fumed.

“Sasa anataka nipeleke hawa watoto wapi? Na ni yeye amezoea kucheza na akina Junior? The children love her so much, in fact, more than they love me their mother. Then she just wakes up and decides she is not coming. That’s being cruel to the children. She just has to come back to work,” said fuming but helpless Angela.

“My children are constantly asking me when their Aunt will be coming back. I have had to lie to them that Aunt will be coming soon. I don’t even know what to say because the good aunt has blocked my number,” Vivian.

“Mine went to attend a funeral – and also enjoy the holidays. I even sent her family money to help with the funeral on December 28, 2021. She was to come back on January 3. I called her the other day and she told me she had booked a bus already, and would be arriving in Nairobi on January 2.  I was worried because she’s new in the city, and I kept calling to find out if she had arrived so I could go pick her. She has never picked my call, or even bothered to reply my text messages. I guess  I have to find an alternative,” Phillis.

“I treated mine like a real child of the house when she arrived in August, 2021. I bought her a phone, clothes and even panties. Then she says she has to go to the village for the holidays – and I volunteer to pay her bus fare. Imagine. Then she fails to return – and does not even give me a warning… you know… just let me know in good time that you won’t be coming back so I can plan myself,” Victoria.

“I have learnt a bitter lesson… I guess it’s time to send my little kids to a daycare,” said Jane.

“I understand mine has been job-hunting. I gathered from my neighboor’s house help that she was looking to land another job in Mombasa – still as a house help. Yet, she didn’t have the courage to just tell me that she won’t be coming back.”

Most of the parents who spoke to Mwanahabari said that they would want house helps to sign some form of binding contract – which bounds them to issue notice before they rudely pack and leave.

“These people become part of our families the moment they come to our houses. They cook our food, sleep on our beds with our children. It is immoral to just bolt. It hurts us to just lose someone who has been a part of the family for two years,” said Grace.

Most parents told Mwanahabari that 98 per cent of house helps never return to their places of work anytime they travel to the village during Christmas.

“Many of them return to the village as queens; looking well polished and beautiful after staying in the city. Most of the time these girls arrive from the village not in good shape.”

“Life in the city has a way of enlightening them… Then when they return to the village, there are those men who want to make them their wives. So, many decide to settle down… start their own families,” a parent told Mwanahabari.

Asked which house helps are known for pulling disappearing acts during holidays, many mentioned Luhya and Luo girls.