We do not have a variety of things to eat at work. It is usually chappatis, samosas, keftas (Ugandans call them Kebabs), mandazi and the like. Basically, all the unhealthy food you can think of that is starch based and oily, we have. I do not have time to eat breakfast at home so I was forced to eat this. And I did, religiously for the first few weeks. Then I had to find options. But anyway, this story is not about the food I eat at work. It is about what happened when I discovered a new place to get food.
They changed my schedule at work so I have to sit with people who I have not sat with since I joined the company. Their sense of humor is different. I cannot joke about certain things. But this story is not about them either. It is about how I discovered that they have rolex at breakfast. Sometimes they even have katogo! I cannot stand katogo…unless I am hangover, and it has to be a specific type of hangover because sometimes all I want is tea. I am drifting again aren’t I?
Anyway, so the other day, I decided to join the crew because I could not ignore the aroma calling out to me. They went to the factory before I did, left me, so I had to go on my own…in search of the rolex. It was a nice warm Saturday. Yes, the Rolexes are made and sold at the FACTORY across the road from my work place. The word factory should have been an indicator but oh heck…I had not had Rolexes in a while!! This was exciting. I could not wait till the next day so I could go with company…my body required rolex that instant! So I went.
I got to the gate and inquired where I might find these special Rolexes…I was told to walk ahead and go “emanju”. As I headed to the back as directed, I found ten or fifteen men seated on the verandah, their feet in the trench. Most of them were holding a mug of what I assumed was porridge. But maybe it was tea because if I was eating porridge in mugs that big while seating on a verandah, I would want my legs straight in front of me so that all I have to after is keel over on one side and sleep it off.
So there I was, in front of the Rolex fellow, whose worktop was set up in the corner of the makeshift shade. It was a big shade, coated in years’ worth of soot. In different sections I counted about five huge black pans resting on three stones each. The contents were bubbling or being stirred by women who were wearing dark colored gomesis. One woman’s gomesi was worn in such a way that it seemed to be beckoning her into the huge pan. I watched the guy receive money from someone with his bare hands. Then he asked if I would he should add onions to my eggs. I said no. With the same fingers, he grabbed the rolling pin to roll out my chapatti. On the side he chopped the onions, gathered them between his fingers and the knife, and dusted them into the beaten eggs.
I watched. He poured an unnecessarily generous amount cooking oil onto the sides of the chapatti. So generous that when he turned over the chapatti with his hands, not once flinching from the heat, it was dripping. It made sense, cutlery of any sort, save for the knife would likely slow him down. And judging from his surroundings, he could not afford to be slowed down. These manual laborers were angry men. He finished making my meal, rolled it and placed it in a small plastic bag and further into a smaller paper bag.
I got to work, made my cup of tea and took a bite of my rolex. Now let us, back up here a bit, ordinarily I would have been disgusted by everything about the chef and his surrounding, but if you have had a rolex by now, you know that it only God who protects you. Those things are sinfully delicious! Also, I was hungry and I have never fallen ill after eating one.
It wasn’t until I bit into the deliciously aromatic rolex that I rethought my précis. You see…right there, staring at me was a tiny comatose roach. Needless to say…I was done…not with rolexes though. Just that particular one. In future, I should just send someone to buy it for me so the disgust is narrowed down to only what I find embedded in the rolex.