The Haus Meri and her dog

Over the last few weeks a few friends have been farewelled as they made their way back to the Land of OZ. I had many conversations with them about their time in PNG and their plans for Australia this year. On one occassion I was speaking with my friend, Lynne who was posting back to Cairns. We shared the same Haus Meri (house cleaner), Agie, last year and would often have quite animated conversations about her.

I was telling Lynne on this particular day that Agie had pulled me aside one day to tell me that she had taken some rice from my bin to give to her dog. This didn’t strike me as unusual as I often give her meat that has gone off for her dog but not meat from the bin! I have always stressed to her that the meat is old and must not be eaten by her or her family members. It’s usually pretty smelly anyway. Occassionally I give her meals that I have cooked for her and her family as a special treat as well but that is different… it’s edible (well at least I hope my cooking is edible!)

There was a slight pause from Lynne and her husband when I told them about this until Lynne’s husband spoke up. ‘Brooke, I’ve taken Agie home a few times and there is no dog.’ He just stared at me for a few moments willing the information to sink in. I took a big gulp and asked, ‘So you’re telling me there is no dog and she is most likely dishing it up to her family!?!’

I was told this 3 weeks ago now and I still cannot stop feeling sick about it. I would never have thought she would be doing this as she is poor however not in poverty. The money she earns as a Haus Meri puts her in a fairly good position in relation to the many others in Port Moresby so I stupidly assumed she was able to provide healthier meals for her family.

So the moral of the story is: No more off meat for Agie and the bins get taken out each night before she works. I think I will also cook more meals for her and her family on a more regular basis.

I shudder….

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