Last Wednesday, the ops manager asked, “do you have two bedrooms in that house of yours?”
“Yeah. Am I getting a roommate?”
“Yes. He’s a mechanic from South Africa,” she replied.
‘This ought to be interesting,’ said my internal monologue, “An American Ivy League white-trash wasp and a roughneck South African grease monkey. Sitcoms don’t even touch on pairings like this.”
I left my keys with the OM since I was heading to Nakumatt to pick up some supplies. It’s funny. I got a load of fresh organic produce for about $4 US. A bottle of indian blended whisky and safari sausages for about $8 and $1.50 respectively. But a 1/4 kilo of smoked turkey costs like 10 bucks.
Whatever, I’m just stoked I can make sandwiches since they are the ultimate food.
Walking around the Nakumatt, I realized how many more white people there were around. I walk by some European looking girls waiting at the front and their eyes follow me.
As it was in London, so it is Nairobi.
I call a cab and in no time I’m on my way. The Maasai guards unlock the gate, but as I walk down to my place. The lights are on, nobody’s home, the door is locked. . I head over to the ops office
There I meet Tommy. Not exactly who I had envisioned. He was a wiry, lively, homunculus, wearing denim shorts and a moustache.
We shake hands, say what up. He’s emailing his wife, and hands over the keys.
“Are you an American?” he asks.
“It’s like it’s written on your forehead, mate!”
Ha ha frickin ha.
Armed with my knowledge from the ops manager, “Hey, you sound South African.”
“I guess it must be written on my forehead as well”
“Ha. Yeah, I guess. Could I snag the keys from ya? I gotta put some stuff in the fridge.”
I’m a making a salad and a sandwich with my fresh produce when BAM! Tommy pounds the door to the kitchen. “Did I scare ya?” he asks.
“not in the least,” I lie.
I pour myself a little glass of 8PM and we sit down. He refuses my offers of sustenance proclaiming his contentment with tea. I remembered why I was enjoying my fortess of solitude.
We actually ended up chatting and laughing for about 2 hours. We covered everything from motorcycles (mainly the fastest production bike on the market, the Trimuph Rocket 3), living to live in Nairobi and Juba, managing idiots anywhere in the world, to why we shouldn’t do the dishes.
It turned out that he was leaving the next day and after a beer, we said goodnight.
I was surprised how much I really enjoyed to speaking to someone about my new experiences. Although my coworkers are wonderful, I can’t really express the things I was feeling as an outsider. Writing about my experiences on CHNEPR has been an outlet for sure, but of course the feedback response isn’t exactly the same.
Tommy and I got along surprisingly well considering we didn’t have much in common. Really the only thing was the fact that we were two white guys in the middle of East Africa.
But I guess that was enough.