Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Mfanyakazi a mwezi

Regular readers of my blog will know that I initiated a monthly award system, Employee of the Month,  for the wonderful workers in and around the Guest House, locally know as the Kempeski,  and in and around my house, called Yumbani Mbili / House number 2.

For the first six months that I ran the Guest House, there were  a number of staff changes. But for the past year, the personnel and number has remained on an even keel. The only major change was my gate guard, Edward Askari. A few weeks ago the production manager, Thys and Grant were discussing the fact that he needed an off-sider on the mine. (From what I could gather from this conversation at the lunch table, is that an off-sider in mining talk is the man who sharpens drill bits and measures up the area for the next blast. In short, quite an important post.) I'd always thought that Edward was under-utilized opening the gate three times a day when Grant leaves for or returns from the office, so I asked Grant to consider him for the job. They did, and Edward, to his great delight,  is now working on the mine! The upside of the loss of Edward, is that I asked Grant if he could transfer Michael to our house as askari, which he did. (Michael is not only my gate guard, but the head gardener at our house and also the cats' new best friend. More about this later!)

Back to this month's Employee of the Month. Pendo, whom Grant employeed as a kitchen helper in the Kempeski in February last year, has grown in leaps and bounds. Every morning, she and Regina arrive at my house at about 7.40am, clean the house, hang the laundry and, if the Guest Cottage behind our home is occupied, the clean that as well. It's Pendo whom Ambrose posted about in Sunday's post. 

By 9am the ladies have finished their work here and go across to the Kempeski. Regina prepares the green salad and a fruit salad for lunch, after which she'll help with any of the preparations taking place in the kitchen. Pendo cleans three of the flatlets and then helps to set the tables for lunch. In the afternoon she helps Salome (the third lady on my staff) to iron the mounds of clothes for the eight miners who live in the Guest house.

Although Pendo didn't know much about basic house-keeping when she started, she is now a fully fledged cleaner, ironing lady and general helper in and around the kitchen. 

Pendo is also expecting her third child and will go on maternity leave when the baby is due at the end of December.
 Pendo, August Employee of the Month (Photo credit: Amani)

When I present this award, it has been a surprise until this moment. I print and laminate a poster depicting all the staff's photos. The Employee of the Month is in the center. I make up a large parcel in an Africa bag (see bottom left of photo above) which contains staples like rice, sugar, maize meal, cake flour, dried beans, tea [leaves] coffee, tinned fish, cooking oil and salt. For a woman, I add talc powder, toilet soap, several hair clips, some Tanzanian shillingi for airtime vouchers. As a real treat, I enclose a large bag of toffees, biscuits and a jar of Nutella (peanut butter and syrup mixed) for the children. 

 Pendo inspects the items in her Africa bag while the rest of the staff look on (Photo credit: Amani)

After the mkutano/meeting, I ask the whole staff to pose with Pendo, while each holds an item. 

From left: Amani, Salomi, Michael (with maize bag on his head) Paulo, Isaac, Jackson, Regina and Madu

For more posts of other people's worlds, please click here


  1. I always like to see who is getting the award for Employee of the Month. Congratulations to Pendo!

  2. Congrats to Pendo! It is always nice to see an employee rewarded for their hard work. Thanks for sharing, Jo! Have a great day!

  3. Such a wonderful surprise and so nice to be recognized for work well done. Congrats to Pendo.

  4. I always thought that this is an excellent idea to motivate people ! She looks so proud ! and what a nice promotion for Askari !
    Tomorrow we leave for Amsterdam to attend wedding ! (Sigh)


Thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a comment. I appreciate your feedback. Jo