High cost of cheap labour


t sunrise this other day, I am in bed kilometres away from home, in the tranquil of a strange bed at a lodging facility courtesy of the call of duty.

This is the best lodging alternative around. The buildings are nice and so is everything inside the rooms. I tell myself I am in for a deserved rest after a long battle with assignments the day before.

Then the virgin early tranquil is broken by reckless noises from a group of workers at this lodging house gathering outside, each to their allocated corridor for a morning clean-up exercise.

A peep through the window and I confirm uniformed ladies are taking to their places for the day’s errands.

Trained hotel or lodge cleaners know their limits and a reckless burst of noise anywhere near occupied rooms is a no! These are workers lodge proprietors just fish out to the places without any training.

The cost of cheap labour then comes to manifest itself in the workers’ conduct. For this morning, with the innocence of a new-born baby, one of the ladies switches her pocket radio on,to what surely sounds like its maximum decibel. 

The radio starts off with annoying buzz but quickly tunes in to an early morning soccer show that is running through results in the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

All it means is the ladies now have to speak louder to hear each other. As fate has it, the lady with a radio is now outside my room and rests the gadget on the windowsill.

Kodi mpira wanji watsiku ndi tsiku? Ndipo udzatha liti mpira umenewu azibambo akhaleko pakhomo!

[when will the games end and give our men no excuse for going home late]

?” She moans men’s habit of walking late to their homes from watching the football games ending deep in the night.

Reckless chit-chat reigns.

In anger, I dart out of bed and bitterly run through my shower routine and choose to walk away from the room for a moment. The restaurant could be a good get away.

As I hurry through the corridor, I am stopped by one sharp shout: “Mukuponda koti kwakolopedwa kale, dzerani uko!” she shows me a rouch patch of ground that she reckons I must use instead of the corridor ‘she has laboured to clean.’

By now I have no energy to fight even a mosquito. I nod in compliance and walk away. I tell myself never to date this place again.

Then I sat in the restaurant waiting for my breakfast, I hear two guys converse on the same ladies and their do. And it seems these guys had been at this place for a couple of days and had noted well how these cleaners were an annoyance.

“Eti ndikutuluka mu room, m’modzi mwa azimayiyo kumakaitana ka mkazi ndinali nako ineko, amvekere ‘kodi iwe si iwe Monica wakuNtchisi iwe?Ndinakuonanso dzanatu koma sunali ndi awa. [As I came out of my room this morning, one cleaner calls the girl I was with and rushes to signal her aside, askingif the girl was a Monica from Ntchisi and if she was the one the cleaner had recently been seeing around with different men.]” the guy fumes.

This ‘hotel’ has boring workers who do not know anything about hospitality. As a result, guests are yoked under the annoyance radiated by the workers.

You should have heard the two guys complain of many other misgivings about the room service team.

The proprietor might soon pay a hefty price for taking cheap, clueless labour on board. n

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