"Ana," a Catholic Latina nanny working for a Jewish family in Studio City, was afraid to ask her employers whether she could buy a holiday gift for their young son. She was torn between wanting to give the child a present and worrying about insulting the family. Like many foreigners, Ana (not her real name) was unsure of proper holiday protocol.
"It's hard for these women to know where to draw the line," said Davina Klein, who teaches a class at Adat Ari El in North Hollywood for Latina nannies working for Jewish families. "They don't want to ask questions because they don't want to rock the boat. I think that comes from a different mentality."
There are a thousand stories in the naked city of Los Angeles, but when it comes to nannies, there are at least a million - nannies who have a free reign of the household, nannies who make good salaries, nannies who get help from their employers to buy cars or put a down payment on a house. But there are the other stories as well - the nanny who works long hours for little pay, with no holidays, no sick days, no breaks. "I knew when I was here without papers, I didn't deserve to be here," says nanny Carmen Davis, "but still, that didn't mean I deserved to be treated without respect."