“Pumasok mutsatsa!” I heard Juanita’s voice inviting me in as I arrived in front of the kitchen door which was facing the garden. Later I found out that mutsatsa meant something like ‘girl-maid’ from the Spanish word ‘muchacha’ - a girl.
Juanita and two young boys were already sitting around a large kitchen table as a young man in a ponytail wearing a pretty feminine bib apron was doing the serving bringing the food to the table. Juanita pointed to a chair and I sat down as she made the introductions.
“Those are my two young boys Mollie, Alphonso who is twelve years old and Ruperto the younger who is 10. Benito with the pretty apron on is my eldest son and my joy and pride at the same time; he is just nineteen and my best assistant both in the house and in the hairdressing salon. Without him I wouldn’t be able to cope.”
I said hello politely but the two young boys simply ignored me, either because they were too hungry or because they were too shy. Benito on the other hand gave me a big smile and said in English with the characteristic Filipino accent, “Hi Mollie, glad to meet you, my mother was eagerly waiting for your arrival. Now I’ll be able to work full time at the beauty salon, the house is yours to run.” He finished his sentence with an effeminate laugh.