Thursday, April 12, 2012

K is for Katabang/Katulong

I'm sure when people in the USA hear that I have a KATABANG(Visayan)/KATULONG(Tagalog) -- maid/house girl/house helper...they think "Man, I wish I had a maid to clean my bathroom/house, cook, and fold my laundry etc..."  Well, guess what...I have not one, but two helpers.  :)

Having a helper is very much the cultural thing to do...

One of them(Ate Tata) comes most Mondays, Wednesdays, & Fridays.  And the other(Ate Bebe) comes Monday through Friday.  Oh, and sometimes...we have a guy(Kuya Rayn) that comes to work on our yard.

When we were new in the country & lived in Manila...I started out with one helper just 3 or 4 days a week...starting @ around 8 AM and working until 4 PM.  Honestly, it was very hard for me...I don't like having someone in my house ALL the time...I tend to be a more private person.  I like things done a particular way...Brian would call me ANAL.  :)  I LOVE to cook...and I know I'm weird...but folding laundry totally relaxes me. But, we had a pretty small apartment...and I could get away with not having a helper there all the time.
When we moved to Mindanao and EVENTUALLY(6 months later) found a house...It ended up being a decent size house.  It has 5 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms(well, sort of...but more on that another time) also has a large basement, and a good size yard.  It's really quite a bit to keep up...not to mention...for some reason things seem to get dirtier here quicker...can someone explain this to me...the road in front of my house is street is busy...but not horribly so.  Well, on second might have something to do with all the creatures that love to share our house.  See I is for Insect.

Kuya Rayn...he cuts our grass and does other work around the yard.
But another thing I've found is LIVING LIFE just takes A LOT LONGER here.  I make almost everything from scratch.  By scratch...I don't mean dumping a box of hamburger helper into my ground beef.  :)  I mean, if I want veggies, I go to market...I  have several favorite stalls there.  If I want fruit...I get that either at the market or another fruit stand closer to my house.  Eggs are at yet another store.  I buy my pork at the market...and I specifically have to ask to have it ground, that it's not "chunky".  Chicken is bought at another place...which will thankfully cut boneless, skinless chicken breast for me...but I have to order them in advance...and I must be very specific about how much I want and how much I want each package to weigh.  Rice is bought at another stall.  Other groceries are bought at a larger store. 

Honestly...I could go on and on...  This is what life is like here...and that's just buying our food. Once I get it home...I have to scrub everything...and then, chop it all up.(I miss those microwave ready veggies!)  If it's pork...I have to divide it up into ziplocs, etc.  Thankfully, we can buy good loaf bread, I don't have to make that...but if we want tortillas, bagels, donuts, pretzels, etc...  I have to make ALL of it.  Which I love to just takes a ton of time.

Anyway...back to my katabang(x2).  I am sooo very thankful for them!  Having them help us clean, cook, etc...frees us up to take care of our FANTASTIC 4 and for us to do language study. We do ALL the care of our kiddos...and that's a full-time job.  :)  On top of that...Brian is required to do 8 hours of language study a day and I am required 6. 

Wendel w/ Ate Tata & Ate Bebe...they're pretty good about trying my American weird food. :)
Ate Tata and Ate Bebe are such an answer to prayer.  They work sooo very hard for us...I know how much work our family is to take care of.  We have mountains of dishes, laundry, etc.  They are also a huge help to us in language study.  We have people in our house everyday that we can practice our Visayan on...and they only laugh moderately loud.  :) And they teach us a TON about their culture.

Ate Tata has worked for missionaries for quite a, that is a massive help.  I didn't really have to train her...just tell her a few of my preferences.  And she did all the training of Ate Bebe for me.   

Ate Bebe getting ready to tackle the dishes
Even though I have helpers...I find it super important to teach my kids to clean up their own rooms/toys, make their own beds, etc...obviously, the kiddos are still young and are still learning...and my helpers do the sweeping and dusting.  I still do quite a bit of the cooking...because, frankly, I like to...  Ate Tata does cook for us too...and she's a fantastic cook...but I'm teaching her to make more and more of our American favorites. 

Lunch very often looks like this.
I'm getting more used to having them in our house Monday through Friday...and I'm really trying to view their being here as an opportunity for us to show Christ's Love to them.

Honestly, a book could be written about having a helper...I'll just stop here though.

Hope that gives you more of an idea what our life is like with a Katabang/Katulong.  If you have any questions about having a helper...Please feel free to ask.           


Keren said...

Hey Brooke! I've been reading your posts for a little while now, and it is so weird to think about doing the life we lived as kids over again as adults! I'm really loving your perspective and it is making me rethink how hard our parents worked to help us grow up in a different country! I love hearing your perspective on it. Even your pictures take me one has tile floor in the living room in the US!!! =)
Keren (Jacobson) Marzinke

june said...

Really enjoyed and appreciated reading this and seeing the pictures. I'm so thankful you have such good help, Brooke. Love y'all. Gran'ma

Anonymous said...

And ours is getting baptized tomorrow... Praise the Lord!