March 28, 2009

Sri Lankan and Nepali Housekeepers and Nannies in Lebanon
Amioun, Lebanon

Something that's really taken me by surprise are the origins of the typical housekeepers and nannies here in Lebanon. Apparently it's not at all uncommon to have a helper in your home on a one- or two-year working visa from Nepal or Sri Lanka (of all places).

Here in the family home of my 41-year-old host, a Nepali woman assists his sweet elderly mother in her daily life. Inside a pair of beautiful homes I was taken to meet and greet with my host's friends, each sported their own Sri Lankan or Nepali support.

Riyad tells me that having a housekeeper from these countries is something that Lebanese living in Saudi Arabia grew accustomed to, and as a result, now 'import' them to their home country (upon their return, or at the recommendation of family friends). Adding with a wry smile that Lebanese women tend to think of themselves princesses, and should be treated as such—shying away from household chores.

Programs send the women off to Lebanon for one, two (or more) years, where they send money back home to their families (which they're separated from for the duration of their contract).

As my host was preparing his upcoming climbing trip to Nepal next week, so too were the Nepal housekeepers that I'd met—finalizing packages that he offered to currier back to their families.

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