Washing dishes, doing laundry, cleaning gazebos and changing diapers is just too much work without domestic workers in Runda. Since the outbreak of Covid-19, some families had to do the house chores on their own while others denied their domestic workers leave. This was meant to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 considering that workers from poor neighborhood were more likely to spread the virus.
Domestic Workers in PPEs
However, after the realization that Covid-19 is here to stay, residents of Runda are beginning to change tact. In most places, domestic workers are being required to wear personal protective equipment in order to be allowed to work in close proximity to their employers.
The requirement is understandable considering that rich people have more to lose if they contract Covid-19. One old money resident of Runda said that the thought of dying is just too painful. “Can you imagine dying and leaving behind wealth worth 18 billion which you have worked hard all your life to build? The pain is different.”
But rather than have the family members wear PPEs to protect themselves, it is the domestic workers who are wearing PPEs so that they ca keep they virus to themselves – just in case they have any.
For most domestic workers, wearing PPEs is not a bad thing at all. It looks cools, and it allows them to continue earning the much-needed money. One person from Gathogoro slums who works in Runda said that the PPEs had restored their sense of confidence. “This is the closest I have come to becoming an astronaut. The suit makes me feel like I am floating in the air like in those images of people in space. I do not mind them.”
But the morality of this practice is in question. While these people have the right to get their domestic workers some PPEs, the cost of this luxury seems to be just too high. “It costs KShs 21,500 to provide the required PPEs for a single domestic worker. Most of these families have at least two workers, bringing the cost to KShs 43 k a day. Is this justifiable considering that the said workers earn a paltry KShs 18,000 per month?”