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Servants

There are but three stories here, each having to do with what TEAers did to be comfortable with having servants: what to call them, what to pay them or how otherwise to register satisfaction for their labor. Jerry Barr's Hiring a Domestic Servant is a straightforward detailing of a life of a single male made comfortable by the work of a house boy, a term that Jerry was never comfortable with. It was that word and Jerry's story generally that prompted Henry Hamburger's storytelling in The Cook. Mpishi, the Swahili word for a cook, is what in Henry tells us he and his wife settled on to call Josiah, the man who worked for them, although the word was clearly inappropriately narrow, given the actual work that Josiah did daily. Henry and his wife "thought of [Josiah] as a friend, though to the extent that he realized it," Henry writes, "it embarrassed him: not the colonial way, that." Kakamega Town and Kakamega High School, the same place where Henry was, became the site for Ed Schmidt's longtime casual involvement with learning - his dabbling in - Swahili. The fact that the man who worked for him knew no English made it imperative that Ed manage a version of the new language: kitchen Swahili is what it was called although the term is not used in Ed's Dabbling in Swahili. Ed's account of what the dividends of that dabbling have been is the central delight of his story.


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All stories in this category,
alphabetical by author.


Barr, Jerry. Hiring a Domestic Servant.
Colby, Pat. Recipe for Sukuma Wiki.
Hamburger, Henry. The Cook.
Schmidt, Ed. Dabbling in Swahili.

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