With the breakfast dishes piled high, beds not touched and some 20 guests about to leave to go sightseeing, I questioned our farm worker who stepped into the kitchen for a coffee, as to the whereabouts of our cleaning lady. I noticed the banana on the mantle that she would bring everyday for her morning break, but had not see her since her arrival at 9. Francesco convinced me not to worry and that she must be in one of the rooms. I started to clear the table of the dirty breakfast dishes, adding more to the pile in the kitchen. Hearing the kitchen clock strike 11, I joined Francesco in search for Venerina. Walking to our parking lot, we heard a cry of help coming from the barred windows of the bathroom facing the lot.
Coming to the rescue we ascertained that when she went to use the facilities, the hook of the new pocket door slammed shut, slipped into the locked position where she remained for two hours. Venerina in tears led me to put a smile on her face by bringing her the banana and a roll of toilet paper as Francesco got some tools to rescue her.
When asked why she didn’t cry out to the 20 people leaving just a few feet away from the window, she explained that her cries for “aiuti,” meaning help in Italian, were answered with waves of gratitude, happy smiles, and “thank you” in English which she did understand. It was not until the return of the guests for dinner that evening did they understand what she meant by”aiuti.”