This piece by Mercy Survivor Alicia was originally published on her blog “Beyond Silence: My Mercy Journey” and can be viewed here.
Major Cleaning Day at Mercy Multiplied sounded fun when I first heard about it. They made it sound fun because we could make silly costumes or wear fun clothing. The whole concept of Major Cleaning Day when it arrived did not seem like fun! I tried to be a good sport but honestly some of Major Cleaning Days really challenged me to work hard.
For me it seemed like I would get partnered with people they knew wouldn’t do their part or would be called out for counseling. There was one girl who I got partnered with to do the classroom, the stairs, front foyer, and the back stairs. I was working on the classroom then was told my partner wouldn’t be able to assist me I would have to do it all. I started crying. The amount of work made me feel overwhelmed. All the other girls were scrubbing the floors and almost done for the day. I was still trying to vacuum the first set of stairs. It was really a rough cleaning day for me. I was so fatigued and distraught. My partner came and did few things and a few girls stepped up to help. Then when the night staff came in they were like, “Alicia you got randomly assigned to clean offices too.” That part really pissed me off because of how exhausted I was.
I know the house had to look nice but what part of girls on their hands and knees scrubbing floors is teaching us anything. It was more for the show of how great the house had to look. At the time, we didn’t know our house cleaning was an effort to make Mercy Multiplied look so great when important visitor’s came or people asked for tours. I feel like anyone that they thought would be potential donor to Mercy Multiplied left us on our knees scrubbing the floors so they look nice.
Major Cleaning Day felt like slavery. It didn’t offer any hope to me for freedom. I didn’t mind cleaning the house. There’s a subtle difference between cleaning the house daily and a Major Cleaning Day that they presented to us as fun but hide the reasons why were doing it. As I look back I can tell they were not truthful about reason the Major Cleaning Days happened. They now call “Major Cleaning Day” to be “Life Skills” I must say from Mercy Ministries to Mercy Multiplied no cleaning Major Cleaning Day anywhere is considered a life skill. It’s more like an army drill. You can’t poke fun at an army drill. It’s serious hard work. When a girl goes through it, it feels like doing something responsible to help the community there but there’s not even an eye that wonders when they see visitors almost immediately after a cleaning day if they were tricked into slave labor to please other people. This is a sad concept but it’s true.