05 AMINI: The Company…

Boy am I hungry! We had to work through lunch on an urgent client proposal and did not manage to grab anything to eat. And the fact that Caleb and SaraMarie dropped me 2 kilometres from Amini does not help the situation. The company is keen on image and for this reason I hurriedly walk past the maize man. I must assume that his hot, charcoal-filled roast stand bears no grain. Yes I am blind to the guy who immerses half a lemon into the coconut shell overflowing with chili granules and proceeds to hungrily marinates his smoking corn. Self-control is not a joke but for the company anything can be done.

A message alert comes in. It is the Geneva traveling client. He has just sent a photo of himself at Jet d’Eau. This magnificent 130 year old fountain that rises 450 feet high presents Lake Geneve in its majestic splendor. Yonder, he explains, lives the rich; one of the villas is rumoured to belong to Lewis Hamilton. It is absolutely beautiful! If only Nairobi had so much to give, then Amini residents would not have to set their alarms for endless nights to fetch the limited council’s water.

A second photo comes through. In this one, he is under a seat that is six times his height. It is Daniel Berset’s broken chair that stands unashamedly in front of the Palais des Nations (United Nations Palace) and joins activists in protesting landmines. Amazing how a basic household item can be such a profound work of art. “If you think this is astounding,” the sojourner adds, “Check out this video.” I wait a few seconds for the clip to download. Whatsapp really is a wonderful application. The chair is graced by trick fountains that dance arrhythmically at the concrete square; it is definitely worth filming. A few tourists opt to ward off the summer heat by standing on fountain spots for more than a minute. “It is about 80 degrees Fahrenheit today.”

He sends a final photo at Parfums de Beyrouth. Contrary to its name, this is a Lebanese restaurant popular for its shish kebabs and garlic Sharma. My client and his colleagues have been dining here since they arrived in Switzerland. The food is 100 bob cheap and the lamb reminds them of home. “God knows that it is my desire to bring you here not just to see Paquis but the whole of Europe.” And with a hearty emoticon, he ends his messaging.

I fall. Literally with folder in the air, cell phone on the ground, and my 88 kilos supported by my knock knees and dainty palms. Kalu, a guy from whom I regularly buy vegetables, rushes to my aid. Another Samaritan hands me my cherished Blackberry. My goodness, I did not even realize I had reached the entrance to Amini. I collect myself. If only I could respond to his messages but company policy is company policy.2


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