By default, people love giving. The feeling of accomplishment and the blessings that follow keep human beings steady in the track of being human. To add spice to giving, people have made charity groups where they establish a needy community, rally funds and organize an event during weekends or themed public holidays. One of my friends chooses to celebrate her birthday with children in an orphanage every year. These events have a lot of food, networking and endorphins. A fortnight ago, I haven’t used that word ‘fortnight’ in a while, I was invited by The Visionaries Foundation to a luncheon at a special care home in Ongata Rongai Nairobi. (Wale mnasemanga Rongai si Nairobi msiniue.)
A charity luncheon starts early as the guests are also the volunteers, to prepare lunch from scratch, play with the children and clean their mess afterwards. So me I went with an open mind; one that is empty to learn and equipped to share. I must confess that that day was my highlight moment for the month of June. First because I cycled all the way from Waithaka to Rongai and boy was my ass sore!
Disclaimer: Don’t think that cycling to Rongai is fun. After Galleria, Magadi Road is too narrow to give space to a cyclist and the only path is full of ridges and rocks.
Secondly, I met and interacted with interesting people. I will group them into ten categories and share some photos of them because they are beautiful people from the heart outwardly, and they won’t take it personal when it gets witty.
He goes first because he is a true gentleman. If he lacks from your event, you are doomed. For ready and timely meals, you need your fuel system to flow flawlessly. This guy sources and chops wood for about three jikos. He takes in pressure from the mukimo team, the nyama team, the pilau lady and the stew duchesses. He develops blisters on his palms as he splits wood with the axe and you know Nairobi axes are rarely sharpened. This guy is calm and lets his work make the noise for him, both literally and figuratively. You may think he is shy but he has the cutest girlfriend on the ground. A fact, he is always male.
When three buckets of potatoes have to be peeled for mashed potatoes, a team of three to five dedicated, calm and meek ladies is needed. They sit on chairs, mitungis, and crates of soda or planks of wood with their lesos on the laps. As the knives move, they discuss everything. From the different species of potatoes on earth, the popular whiskey brands, how to bake a passion cake and the guys in the event. If you want to know the history of every one on the guest list, sit with this team.
The mafia is made up of about five guys. They rule with an iron fist. Were it not for modesty, they would run the show singlehandedly. Between them they know the recipe of every meal ever prepared by man. They can light a fire using wood and stone. They are numerical, knowing that a 2kg of wheat flour produces nineteen full chapos na kale kadogo kamoja. They also know that to feed a hundred people you need 307,567 grains of rice. This team is indispensable, they work hard to ensure everybody is contented.
They arrive at one o’clock when most of the work is done. When they arrive, they walk around saying hi to everyone and giving reasons for their lateness. They start chopping fruits for dessert but the cartel is never tricked. After lunch is served, they are hit with the reality that they will wash the dishes and the big mukimo and pilau pot.
She or he is a photographer with a Canon or Nikon Camera. She also has a fancy leather backpack with different sets of lenses. She says one is good for indoors and the other for the outdoors. In the whole team, she is the only one who knows about exposure and lighting. She takes threats from everybody.
“Na wewe ukose kunicapture utaona.” “ Utatuma lini!”
These are the mitochondrion of the team. The pistons in the engine block. When everybody is out of energy, they are still moving around fixing things and making sure everything goes on according to the plan. They never break a sweat or stop to catch breath. When time to eat comes, they are serving the guests and the hosts with a smile that conceals the fatigue.
We agree that chapos are fundamental to an event but the arrogance this team displays is on another level. They take all the charcoal burners, the tables, time and credit. Nobody serves a meal before the chapo guys have finished frying but if they complete before the rest, the whole district will know. They show off their skill and use it to intimidate the rest, making the stew and waru guys feel inferior. They are loved because only they can make chapos.
These are mainly Okuyu ladies. They play a vital role of ensuring stew is enough and they know how best to fit. They balance the food to water ratio pretty well as the lunch does not run out of soup.
These people are always nibbling something. They eat raw carrots, tomatoes, and the first chapo. They are chased away from every station but they have a huge influence and they know their way about. They are the only ones who outwit the cartel and eat before the main meal is served where they eat sparingly since they got stuffed up during preparation.
These teams plus the quiet ones who do their work diligently make an event very colourful and full of character. The synergy they produce breeds success and heaven smiles down on them.
Photo Credit: Mugambi Photography. (She does amazing event coverage.)
Event by The Visionaries 1254 Foundation, Ongata Special Homecare and Training Centre.