For the sake of continuity I thought I’d better give an update on how things are progressing for those people previously mentioned in my blog:
The cook has started a permanent job working for a nice family on the other side of town, where he is nearer to where his family live, gets a monthly salary plus paid leave and doesn’t have commute to Karen for over an hour on buses then dot from place to place trying to remember where various people keep their oil, flour, spices and how their differing ovens work. Let’s hope the new job works out. I know that he has been in terrible knots about informing and letting down the housewives he was working for around here, but I’m sure they’ll understand. He told me he’d said to one lady that he was ‘going home for a while’, but would be back ‘later’, as I think he was hedging his bets a bit about the new job being a success. I said; ‘come clean and let people know where they stand’, but it’s always easy to give out advice and not so easy when the shoe is on the other foot. I also feel partially responsible as I may have had something to do with getting him the new job in the first place.
The ex-askari (night watch man) who is HIV positive has been back in touch. Whilst we were away I received a text that read:
Good evening. I was diagnosed of basal pneumonia. I started medications, I finished injections today. Am getting strong, coughing has lessened kabisa. Thank u for your assistance. GOD BLESS U U SERVANTS OF JESUS.
Not sure how equipped I feel about being a 'servant of Jesus'.
I think he’s now been off work for about a month due to ill health. Yesterday he called to say that he’s been made redundant from his job (along with 85 other people), as one of the company’s main security contracts has been cancelled. He may be called back if more work comes up in the form of a new contract. He said he was lucky enough to receive his ‘dues’ or redundancy money, but others did not or for some reason were not eligible to get it. He’s waiting for the money that he saved through the company’s ‘co-operative society’ to be paid out. In fact, he sounded pretty relieved to be out of his difficult situation and with a wedge of cash in his pocket, but I think that the money will run out pretty quick and things might start to look bad again and it will be difficult for him to find work. Meanwhile, the yolk of responsibility is starting to bear down on our shoulders. Perhaps this blog should become a Nairobi employment agency instead of a diary?
Meanwhile, another ex-askari (who was under suspicion for masterminding the theft of our car stereo/dvd player a year ago – see previous blog post) has dropped a letter at the gate as he is in search of work too. He was very nice and we liked him. We bought him a bicycle (he wanted one with gears) as he was,off his own bat doing a computer course and was finding it difficult to get to college and work on time. We were impressed by his initiative. Some of the cost of the bicycle was meant to be given as a loan, but we kind of cancelled this as he was moved on to another property after our break in, so in the event the bike was ‘gratis’. After he left we weren’t sure if we felt a bit mugged (if he really was responsible for getting someone to steal the stereo). Anyway he wrote: Dear Sir & Madam, I would like to break the silence by thanking you people for you tireless help and hospitality you extended to me; you people gave me easy time that aided me to complete my studies as far as transportation was pertained. However would like to inform you that currently am jobless and requesting for any vacancy from you people’s hands as you had earlier promised, I feel I should still work under you! Thanks for you people’s positive move and god bless. I’m ashamed to say that we haven’t responded to that one yet.
Plus there is another ex-askari Moses who still phones from time to time although it’s now been three years since he worked for us. I gather that he is gainfully employed and quite happy but I think likes to keep in touch with us in order to keep his options open. You have to admire his tenacity.
In the meantime, kids are back to school. The kindergarten has less than half the number of pupils that were there last term, as most have defected to a new, more popular school. Staying positive about choosing to stay took nerves of steel and today I was excited to see my middle daughter had football and computer studies in the afternoon ( as she’s a tomboy), but when I picked her up she said that the football teacher hadn’t pitched and computer studies was cancelled as the power went off. Perhaps that goes some way to explaining why so many have decamped – but to be fair, it is only her first day.
The eldest was happy to no longer be the youngest in her ‘big’ school but we were worried when she said that her latest best friend was a new girl in the year below and she’d spent all her break time looking after her. It was difficult to bite back the words: ‘Haven’t you got any friends in your own class?!’ Yet more kids have left that school too, which is sad but most were moving overseas so it couldn’t be helped and they’ve already been replaced by new kids, so there are now new parents to get to know.
Someone I met at the coast was moaning about changes at her children’s kindergarten down there, so it was comforting to know that these worries are universal.
I keep wondering how our old friends who have just left Kenya are doing back in Blighty?