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How I Became an Expat Nanny in Nigeria
Professionally trained nanny, Monica shares her intriguing experience of being an Expat Nanny in Nigeria
What would you like the MumsVillage audience to know about you?
My name is Monica Akoch Shikuku. I am 33 years old and I am a mother of an 11 year old- shes a big girl now. I grew up in Busia and I am Luhya.
What do you do?
What I would say for now is I am a nanny. I have been a nanny working in Nigeria.
How did you prepare yourself for this transition?
All my life I have been doing domestic work because I did not go to High school. So from 2000, I worked for my uncle and helped around where needed. I was not being paid back then because that is what I grew up doing and I just took it like normal tasks in the house caring for children. When I gave birth in 2005 and had to live with my child and that is when this opportunity of being a nanny came up.
My “madam” was a British lady who worked in Nigeria. We started talking about my ability of taking care of her child from last year August when she gave birth. She really needed to make sure I was ready and capable of taking this job since it would not be easy leaving my own child and moving to a new country.
She wanted to know if I can be able to take my job seriously, to love her child, to follow a program or rather a routine when shes not around, to read and write. With the nature of her job she needed to be sure she can also trust me with her child when she travels You know? I had to prepare adequately for this nanny job.
For her, she needed “mashahidis” to give a recommendation about me and to talk on my behalf so she was also certain that I am capable of taking care of her child. The most important thing I can remember is the books I had to read. Yes books! When her daughter was a month old we would communicate so much and she would send me reading material. My friends would tease me a lot when they saw me reading these children books, they thought I was expectant. They would always tell me “normal nannies don’t read books, what are you reading for?” But being a single mother here in Kenya I knew I needed a job. I will not say it is because I did not get a full education but it counts a lot. Most jobs I got were for “kazi ya kuosha manguo” and I knew I had to make sure my child gets the best life as she grows up. I decided I wanted to take this job as a profession.
I also prepared my daughter when she was 9 years and I would tell her “mam, next year I will take you to the village for a short while, I will work and make a lot money to buy you so many gifts” She was not sad and this made it easy because she understood that I had to leave for a short while. I was not guaranteeing her that she will see me in those 2 years so It took all of me to make sure she gets why I had to leave.
Eventually, I had prepared myself about the weather, the food and what to expect and I finally left for Nigeria to start my life as a professional Nanny
Watch out for more on Monica’s journey as an Expat Nanny in the next series. Its not too late to sign your nanny up for the free P&G training. Knowledge is power!