few months ago, my husband brought home a young girl. He told me, “Please, take care of her. She doesn’t have anyone. She is an orphan. I met her living in an uncompleted building with some people. She is working as an apprentice so she doesn’t earn any money. She has to trek for miles to go to work.
Even money for food is a problem for her. I know that we can give her a better life here in our home.” My dear husband is an empath. He likes to help people when he has the means to do so. So I agreed to take in the girl.
The night she arrived I served her dinner, and she ate everything. The next morning, I gave her money to buy breakfast. In the afternoon I sent her lunch, and she accepted the food without any complaints. Her third day with us was a Saturday, so I decided to cook jollof for the entire household. I took out chicken from the freezer and left it out to thaw while I cleaned the house.
Out of nowhere, this girl came to ask me, “Are you going to prepare soup?” I shook my head, “No, why did you ask?” She responded, “Usually chicken back is used for soup, that’s why I asked.” I told her I was going to fry the chicken and use it for Jollof. She made a face, “Chicken back for Jollof? That part of the chicken doesn’t look appetizing when it is fried. You should have bought the thighs or the wings.” I was so shocked that I couldn’t speak. I just turned away from her and went about my chores.
When I finished cooking, I served her jollof with salad. I did not want to offend her with my non-appetizing chicken so I did not give her some. To my surprise, she went to take the meat from the pot and added it to her food without asking me first. It didn’t sit well with me but I ignored her.
I had no idea that her attitude toward the chicken was just the beginning of her pickiness when it comes to food. As the days went on, this girl told me that she doesn’t eat “kanzo”, the slightly burnt part of rice. She refuses to eat Banku and Kokonte. She would throw away fufu or any food I serve her that she is not in the mood to eat. If I finish cooking and she is ready to eat, she won’t call me to serve her. She would fetch the soup and take whatever she likes from it. It doesn’t matter to her if no one else has eaten.
When this girl prepares Milo, she uses almost a tin of milk. As for the Milo, she scoops spoonfuls as if she is scooping sand at the seashore. Because of her, I run out of provisions at an alarmingly fast rate. I had to lay down some rules to regulate her eating habits when I couldn’t take it anymore. I did not enjoy doing that to her but I believed it was necessary.
Even with all the checks I put into place, this girl managed to finish one tin of Milo within four days. The last straw for me was when she poured water into a pot of Jollof that was perfectly good to eat. I don’t want it to look like I am maltreating her when I try to discipline her, but I cannot stand wastefulness, especially in this economic climate. I have given her an ultimatum. “It is either you manage food in this house as we all do or you find somewhere else to live.” In her defense, she said, “I don’t know that I am wasting food. I have lived with a lot of rich people, and their behaviour toward food has rubbed off on me.”
I know she is lying. Although she lived with rich people, she comes from a very poor family. They cannot even afford to feed her two square meals. That is why she ends up living with people. You would think someone who comes from this kind of background would understand that food should not be wasted, but no. I told my husband about the ultimatum I gave her. I explained that we cannot afford her lavish lifestyle so she may have to go.
He doesn’t agree that we should let her go. He tells me, “She is a child. Teach her how to behave properly, and she will be fine.” I don’t think someone like her can easily learn. My children are not wasteful because I taught them how to be frugal right from infancy. It is the same way I was brought up. However, this girl has lived with different people. There are too many voices in her head, telling her how to behave. She will not appreciate anything I teach her. And I am the one who will end up suffering.
What do you suggest I do? Should I listen to my husband and let her stay? Or should I listen to my instincts and let her go?