When my husband and I had Josh, I was  panicky because I was going to enter the unknown territory called Yayaland. We  had never hired a househelper before and I was wary on having a non family member living with us. I have heard horror stories about my friends’ yayas so I wanted to make sure  that I choose the right one.

Ha! Better said than done. There is a dearth of yayas in the country. Most are in HK or Singapore. And the ones that do stay are either straight out of the boondocks or the veterans who ask for benefits that you can’t give. However, I seemed to have been luckier than most because my yayas were bearable. Not one of them stole from us or hurt my son. But they had their quirks that were funny and exasperating too.

Our first yaya urged us to bring her to the dentist ASAP. The dentist did not find anything wrong with her teeth. She just wanted to have her teeth  shortened to a smaller size! It took a lot of explaining to our naive 16 year old  that nothing is wrong with her teeth. She was also a TV addict and adored Judy Ann Santos. Judy Ann was promoting a weight loss product at that time. Sure enough our  househelper who was slim and tiny drank tons of the questionable powder. The great thing about her? Bathing our large dogs was a cinch for her.

The second yaya stayed the longest at three years. She did not have time to comb her hair as she was very busy in cleaning the house. She was more adept than me in cutting the nails of my then one year old son, a motherly duty that I abhor. I was impressed.But that did not last long. She fell in love with a married man who happened to be our neighbor! Things started falling downhill.  She had her hair colored, plucked her eyebrows, and wore huge dangling earrings. A total love makeover. Then she started losing patience with our son. She bid adieu soon after  supposedly to take care of her granny. I knew she was lying but I did not stop her for I was afraid she will create more scandal in our village.

The third and fourth ones are relatives. My friends advised me never to hire two yayas who belong to the same family. But I did not listen. The third one was great with my son and even helped him with his assignments when I was not around. We sent her to computer school for a year but she opted to enroll in a work and study program in Cebu. The other one was new to the city and was oohhing and aahhing  the sights. It was so amusing to look at her. She also ate like a horse consuming  lots of meat for she rarely had it in Mindanao. Unlike her cousin who wanted a better life, she left us after having their nipa hut fixed at the foot of the mountains. I told her to stay one more year so she can save up. Her answer, ” We are used to just eating saba ( plantains).” What can one say to that?  She immediately lived in with her boyfriend and got pregnant, destined to live life in a hovel.

The present one, the tallest at 5’7, will soon leave us after the school year. I appreciated the fact that she told me early enough. I have made it clear to all our yayas that they should inform me way ahead if they are about to leave us. It gives me time to find a replacement. So far all of them have complied. This one had a missed period last year and we all thought she was pregnant. Thank God she wasn’t. I had to reprimand her. I pity her mother who is up at dawn  selling vegetables in a public market to put her  children to school.

I have not told my son yet that Yaya Aileen is about to leave us. He does not like it one bit when he  has to adjust to a new yaya.  I knew that she was going to leave us soon. I mentioned it to the hubby while she was on vacation.Call it intuition. I guess I have become an old hand in yayaland.


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