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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Forecast 2024: Baboolal Discovers Safety and Fulfillment in Schenectady Home Cleaning Services


In 1985, Vashti Baboolal’s world was shattered when her brother was brutally murdered. Shortly after, her sister-in-law, a landlord, was killed by tenants who refused to ​pay their rent. These tragic events were a stark reminder ⁣of the escalating​ violence in her home⁤ country, Trinidad and⁣ Tobago, ‍a small island nation off the coast​ of Venezuela. The ‌country’s 1.5 million⁣ inhabitants were living in an increasingly ​dangerous environment, and Baboolal had experienced this firsthand.

The situation‍ only ‍deteriorated further, with‍ crime rates skyrocketing from⁢ the late 1990s onwards. The ⁤homicide rate ​jumped from 9 per 100,000 people in 2000 to⁢ an all-time high in 2022, with nearly‍ 40 murders per 100,000 people.

As the crime wave intensified, Baboolal felt her safety was increasingly‍ compromised.

“I yearned for a⁣ safer, better life for myself and my children,” she expressed.

In 2003, she ⁣came across a newspaper⁣ advertisement for a live-in‌ nanny position in⁤ New York City. She applied, secured a visa, and left her homeland. She briefly ⁢returned to Trinidad the following year, ‌but with the assistance of her employer, she obtained a 10-year visa to return to the United States. In 2005, she‍ returned to ​the U.S. with just $25 in ⁢her pocket, but a ​firm resolve to never go back to Trinidad.

“This time, I am‌ not going back. I ⁣am determined ‌to make it here. I will not give⁣ up,” she resolved.

She brought her 12-year-old son, Ryan, with her and found employment in​ a restaurant and later in a clothing‌ store, working wherever she could. Her‍ second son chose ‌to stay back in Trinidad,⁢ while her⁣ third son was born in the United States.

The⁢ following year, the murder of her brother-in-law ‌by drug traffickers⁢ further validated her decision to leave Trinidad. He was killed after ‌he refused to let ‌the ⁣drug dealers use ​his boat, ‍throwing ⁢the keys ​into the water.


As Ryan grew older, he moved to Schenectady and ⁣got married. He ‍informed his mother about the affordability of the area compared to New York City. ⁢Intrigued, ‌Baboolal decided to visit‍ and explore.

“I was pleasantly surprised by the affordability​ of ‌the apartments here,” she said. In 2019, she relocated​ to ⁢Schenectady, lived with Ryan until she found her own place, and started looking for ⁢housecleaning jobs, a skill ⁢she had been ‌honing since 2018 in New York City. She advertised ‌her services around‌ town and soon realized how ‍much‌ she ​enjoyed the work.

“My⁢ mother instilled in me the habit of‍ cleaning from a young ‌age,” Baboolal shared. “We would do thorough cleaning every season,⁢ scrubbing down all the walls and counters.​ I enjoyed helping my mom⁤ and⁣ somehow, the love for cleaning stuck with⁤ me. I owe ‌it ⁢all to my mom!”

At some point, she found herself so‌ engrossed‍ in cleaning that she decided to turn⁣ it into a business. Thus, Helping Hands⁣ Ministries, her ‌solo cleaning business, was born.

Her work philosophy is straightforward.

“When I clean someone’s‍ place, I ⁤treat it as my own. It has⁤ to be perfect,” ‍she stated.

Baboolal approaches each cleaning job with enthusiasm⁤ and dedication.

“I look forward to cleaning because it allows me ​to transform spaces,” she said, ‍adding that she believes her work significantly benefits families.

One of her clients, Holly Serrao from Clifton Park,⁣ can‍ attest to this. With a full-time ⁣job, two boys, a dog, and recent surgeries, Serrao found it challenging to keep up with household chores.

“We were in a tough spot,” Serrao admitted. “Vashti​ came into our ‌lives at⁢ the perfect‌ time.”

Baboolal has been a ⁤great ⁣help to the family, assisting them with their‌ busy schedules ⁤and‌ recovery from ‍surgeries. Serrao‍ appreciates Baboolal’s ​reliability, punctuality, and warm personality.

“She’s always on time, follows up, and⁢ is extremely⁣ warm and friendly,” Serrao praised. “Her kind messages like,⁤ ‘Have a blessed day,’ really brighten ⁤up our day. It’s​ comforting, especially when you’re letting someone into your home.”

Baboolal finds her ⁤clients’ reactions rewarding.

“My favorite part‍ of the job is delivering professional ⁤results. When I see ‍everything in order and up to ⁢the⁤ highest standards, I feel a sense of accomplishment,” she said. “When customers come home and ​exclaim, ‘Wow! This feels like a brand-new home,’ I feel satisfied⁤ knowing ⁢I’ve done my best. Their happiness is ⁤my reward.”

When a client requests her services again, she knows they’re pleased with her work.

However, the ‍business does have its challenges. The most difficult part of ​her job‍ is ‌tidying up⁣ before she can actually start cleaning.

“If there’s a lot of clutter, it takes extra time,” Baboolal explained.

She prefers clients to have their homes tidied ⁣up before she arrives so she can focus on cleaning. She ⁢also appreciates it when clients have all the necessary supplies ⁤and equipment ready, making her work more efficient.

What she dislikes the most about the cleaning business is clients ‌who expect too much work in too little time for too little pay, an ⁣issue she encountered in New York City.

“They want it cheap, they want it fast, and⁢ they want it all done,” ​she said. “If your house isn’t cleaned regularly, dust and dirt will accumulate. It takes extra ⁤time to clean.”

When she’s ⁣not cleaning, Baboolal volunteers at ⁢her church, Faith ‌Deliverance ⁣Tabernacle ‍in Schenectady, and is working towards her ⁣GED at Washington Irving Adult and Continuing Education Center. She recently received her green card and plans‌ to apply for U.S. ⁣citizenship after five ‍years of permanent residency.

“Receiving ​my‌ green card gave ⁤me a sense of security and belonging,” she expressed.


Baboolal’s faith is a significant part of her life and ⁣inspires​ her to ⁢help ‍others.

“One of my goals with this‌ cleaning business is to assist those who need ⁤help‌ but ‍can’t afford to pay,” she said. She plans to offer one-time⁤ services to the elderly ⁢or disabled, or to those⁢ recovering from ⁣surgery. “These would be ⁣my volunteer‍ projects. It’s not just ⁤about getting customers. ‍I want to help those who can’t help themselves.”

She ⁣has already done similar work. In‍ fact, her most challenging workday was⁢ a volunteer job in New York City. ⁣Without informing the pastor, Baboolal offered to clean‍ a ⁤room in her church where a⁣ tenant with mobility issues ⁣was living.

“He was ⁤a⁣ severe hoarder,” ‌Baboolal recalled, describing walls covered with dirt and excrement,⁢ a floor hidden under more dirt, cat food, and cat litter, and a bathroom in a ⁣disastrous state. “I ‍removed four large bags of garbage. The floor was visible when I was done. He was there and was ‌extremely grateful.”

Soon after, the ‍pastor asked to see Baboolal. Initially, she thought she was in trouble. However, someone had informed the pastor about her work, ⁢and he wanted to hire⁣ her to clean the church.

“My small act of kindness resulted in great blessings,” she said.


Baboolal relies ⁤on ​word of mouth to find new clients,⁣ a strategy that has worked well for her. While she currently works alone, she is considering expanding her team in⁤ the future.

“There are many​ women like me who I would be more than happy to help,” she said.⁢ “I remember ​when I first came to the U.S., I was broke and desperate ⁣for ‌any kind of work.”

She plans to⁣ train ⁢the staff herself. “Cleaning is not that hard ⁢and it’s easy to learn.”

Baboolal sees her business not ⁢just as a means to support herself‌ and achieve ⁣her educational goals, but also as a way ⁣to help others. She has⁣ a somewhat spiritual perspective on her work.

“I believe that when I ‍enter someone’s⁣ home ​and they are struggling with life,⁣ my cleaning brings a sense of ‌peace into ⁣their home.⁣ They had so ⁤much to do and they got professional help. When I see the ‌look​ on their face, I feel ⁤honestly that I’m ⁣a blessing to them. ⁤And they’re a blessing to me for letting me come into their home.”

Kiara Thomas
Kiara Thomas
I uncover quirky and compelling stories. Always on the lookout for the 'why' behind the 'what'.
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