A Lot in a Little

November 18, 2007

I returned to Nairobi with our biggest camp and distribution center successfully running near real-time actualization.

Now it was time to sort out automated ordering.

It was convenient timing. The Girl moved to Kenya in September when I was supposed to be there, but got held up with The New Restaurant.

So I was back.

And it was good

She had found a little place near the Karen Blixen Giraffe Center. IanJames and his wife had been instrumental in her happiness there. Just as they did with me, they brought her into their circle of friends, making rapidly the new country into a new home. We kinda owe them our lives in Kenya; without them, we wouldn’t be as happy there as we are. Thanks. We owe you more than can be repaid.

While the little place on Lamwia was nice, it was sorta off the beaten path. Sadly but luckily, Butcher was moving out. Butcher, a friend of IanJames, was a pilot for Kenya Airways. He was truly one of the coolest people I’d met in Karen, and believe me, there are a lot of cool people.

Now, I can take it and dish it out—and I get a lot of it for my East Coast accent—but I’ll throw it right back to all the Brits and Kenyan Cowboys. But Butcher never gave me shit. He was just down for a good time.

Butcher had a sweet two bed, two bath duplex within walking distance from a Karen Nakumatt and a couple bars and restaurants, right down the lane from IanJames and 10 minutes up Ngong from the company offices.

Bushwhack, perhaps the most rough and tumble man on the face of the earth lived nearby and so did Sapphire, with whom The Girl had become pretty good friends.

Butcher offered the place to us. We moved in a couple days after he moved out. It was bittersweet for everyone, but we were all jovial about the new beginnings.

The Girl and I got the place set up a little bit, bought plates and silverware and crap, but it still needs some personal touches.

We were just settling in to our new lives. I was working long days, and on the weekend we hung out with everyone.  While working, the two of us would have quite dinners together, I’d play a lot of guitar, and we’d go to bed early. The Girl’s job prospects looked good and I was looking forward to bouncing back and forth between Nairobi and Juba over the next couple months.

It was as close to a normal life as I’d ever known.

I had been back for about 6 days, and I had about three more weeks planned at headquarters to get some more groundwork in place. There I am, chugging along, sending out new directives, policy and procedure memos, getting ramped up for vehicle spare codes and the end of month, when bam, the CEO calls me into his office.

He and I had had some great talks the past couple days, he was championing by changes, and we were doing. We talked about design and me working with Director of New Business on proposals and profiles.

But that day he called me in, he said, ‘We need you to cover for Buckshot.”

I ’bout flipped my lid.

I managed to retain my composure for most of it, nodding silently, possibly scowling. I mumbled something and left.

I stewed in my frustration for a little before returning back to the executives.

No one looked up as I entered.

“Before I cover for another manager on their leave, I need mine sorted out.”

“Fair enough,” replied The Big Boss.

“December 13th, just like I’ve said in numerous emails.”


“. . .I promised my mom I’d be home for Christmas this year.”

“You a momma’s boy?” chided the Director of Operations, looking at me from above the rim of his glasses.

I paused, collecting my cool.

“I wouldn’t say that. I like to deliver on commitments.”

“Never mind him, We can get you back at that time.”

Half joking the DoO adds, “Well, it’s only the married managers who get to go home for the holidays. All the single guys gotta stay in the field. Unless you can get married, in the next few weeks.”

“DoO, you know I’m not single. My girlfriend just moved here, but we’d like to be back in the states for. . .”

“You’re girlfriend is here?” cried the CEO, “Here in Nairobi?”

“Uh, yeah I think I mentioned this—”

“Does she want to work in Sudan? Is she in Hospitality?”

“Hmm, funny how that was worded,” pondered the InMo.

“Well, we’d talked about this, but then DoO and I chatted one night over dinner at Tamarind. He said it wasn’t a good idea.”

“No, I don’t think so. I don’t recall that.”

“It was me, you, Lex Luthor, and LouieLouie. I had the duck sachets and the prawns. You got a T-bone.”

“Oh that night,” remembered the DoO.

“Can we talk to her?” pressed the CEO?

In the next three days, everything was turned upside down; a lot of things were about to happen in a little bit of time.