As most Lebanese girls, I like to keep my nails tidy and colored. So I usually go to the same salon.
The salon is big, so there are many girls that work there. Among them, there is Nana, the Nepalese girl.(please note that Nana is not her original name) Time after time, I became friends with Nana, till one day she opened her heart and told me about her life in Lebanon.
So on a typical day, she wakes up at 6:00am cleans the house, and then goes to the salon where she starts working at 9:00 am and stays non-stop till 10:00pm – that’s the time when the salon closes). But her day doesn’t end here, she has to clean the center (four floors), thus staying for another hour or so.
Then when she reaches the house, she has to help the other Pilipino helper that usually stays at home to clean the house. Sometime when her employers have a dinner or a party at home, she is forced to stay till 4:00am to clean and wash the dishes with the other helper. And the next morning, if they (Nana and her other helper friend) do not wake up by 7:00am the wife of their employer comes and wakes them up.
The employers’ children are fat, and they eat a lot of chocolate; so their mother forbids them to eat chocolate. But as all children they still can sneak and get some chocolate; so every time a chocolate is missing, Nana gets the blame.
Since Nana is a Nepalese, she is not used to eating Lebanese food, so she usually cooks rice for herself. Whenever her employers or his wife sees some food missing; they accuse her of eating it. Can you imagine such people in twenty first century? To add on the eating issue, they now lock the fridge, yes lock it… as if their food was a fairy treasure and eating it would be like entering the pharaoh’s tomb.
Nana is very good at her work, so clients usually ask for her availability and insist that she does their nails. And since she is very good at her job, a lot of women tip her. At the end of the day, the wife of her employer (which also is her employer) takes all the money she has assembled.
What happened to hard work getting compensated?
To add to that, Nana doesn’t get paid at the end of every month, her employer keeps at least 8 months of salary with him, so he makes sure she stays with him. And guess what?
Guess how much does she get paid?
125$ yes just 125$ for working 18hours a day or even more. To make the story more frustrating, Nana used to work in Nepal, and also get 125$. So coming to Lebanon and working more than 18 hours was the worst thing she ever did.
At some point Nana started to get very tired and was fed up from all this work, so insisted that she cannot clean the center after her long day anymore. Therefore, after a while, they got another helper which is Ethiopian. This Ethiopian helper in on her own in Lebanon and gets charged per hour.
Guess how much do they give her per month?
This is the funniest and most ironic part of the story, she gets 300$ per month. Yes 300$ and she doesn’t even work full time. She just comes and cleans max 3 hours per day, max 3.
When I heard her story, I couldn’t imagine it; I mean I was really really chocked. I usually hear of such stories, but not have an actual person telling me their story.
After hearing the story, I was very disgusted from going back to the salon, and knowing that I am helping selfish, in-humane people make money on the backs of innocent and vulnerable people. But one thing kept me coming; it was the happy smile of Nana when she saw me. She has no one to talk to, the other Lebanese employees in the salon hate her because clients are asking for her, and because they see her getting tipped and they don’t; but they do not know her story…
They do not know that she cries herself to sleep every night hoping she can wake up and all this would be a nightmare.