It's that time again where I honor a member of the Guest House and House No 2 (our home) staff.
The person to win the award this time is erstwhile casual garden laborer and now part-time askari and full-time trainee chef. A few months ago, I noticed that the new askari/ guard, Amani, spoke perfect English, was highly intelligent, and totally wasted opening and shutting the Guest House motor gate three times a day.
After asking Amani if he'd like to help in the kitchen to which he readily agreed, I spoke to Grant who also thought it was a good idea. Even though we have two male chefs, our next best lady chef (cooka Salomi) is on maternity leave so there's not much time off for the present cooks.
So for the past four months, Amani has been chief bottlewasher (he cheerfully started at the bottom, dear lad) and also learning how to cook certain meals at the chefs' elbows. Amani also dusts off the tables after meals * and re-sets the dining tables for the next meals as well as cleaning the dining room lounge, four guest bedrooms, two bathrooms, the kitchen and scullery.
Note: * instead of leaving used plates on the tables for "servants" to collect, each expat takes his crockery, cutlery and glassware through to the scullery. After scraping any left-overs into specially placed bowls (with which I feed the chickens later) and discarding their toothpicks and paper serviettes into the bin below, they stack everything neatly into the sink. I initiated this procedure soon after I arrived here when I found that the dinner plates were literally thrown into the sink with bones, leftover food, napkins and toothpicks in between. Who was supposed to sort this out? Ewgh!
On Christmas day Amani opted to work (it meant triple pay for him and as a single man, he said he had nothing special on) and what a boon he was. He cleaned up after I had roasted the turkey and washed the men's breakfast dishes. Later that afternoon, he took took the two stoves apart and scoured every single grill, pan, plate and the cleaned the exteriors until they gleamed. He told me it took him three hours. All this was done with a smile, bless him.
Amani, (center) worthy winner of the award for Employee of the Month
This afternoon I will call a staff meeting at the Guest House, and thank them all for their hard work over the past two months (November and December). After announcing the winner for December, I will hand over the prize hamper consisting of 5kg ugali (maize meal), 2kg mchele (rice), 2kg sukari (sugar), kahawa (coffee - a tin of instant), biskuti (biscuits/cookies), pipi/tamtam/chakleti (candy/sweets) and sabuni (toilet soap).
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