HUMOUR: Jack of all trades

A few weeks ago, I told you how Aggrey and I were totally shocked when we received our very first salaries way back in the mid 90s.

A few weeks ago, I told you how Aggrey and I were totally shocked when we received our very first salaries way back in the mid 90s.

I remember how Aggrey and I thanked our creator for everything. Not only was it our very first time to receive a salary, but it was also our first time to sign any document of any kind.

In our minds, we always knew that signatures were meant for signing cheque payments only. We had this impression that signatures belonged to bosses alone and therefore signing this voucher would amount to insubordination.

That is why our hands became sweaty and shaky as the cashier handed us the pen to sign for our first salaries.

When our hands danced in circles, the cashier understood that she was in trouble with two petty criminals. So she called in security boys, who were on the verge of beating us up had our expatriate boss not surfaced.

As the security personnel eventually let us go, I felt like telling the cashier about a part time job that I once obtained at a consultancy agency, which belonged to a rich distant relative of mine.

At this agency, I was appointed as a cashier. My role was basically to receive payments from clients and bank the proceeds.

But the reality is that I was not only performing as a cashier but also as an office messenger, debt collector, tea boy, cleaner as well as the main doorkeeper. Now, I even wonder why I am still unemployed here in Kigali considering this wealth of working experience.

Where else will you find someone, who used to commence each day by walking through the fog very early in the morning so that he could prepare the office for his bosses?

I would fill the bucket with water and soap and proceed to mop the floor from corner to corner. Then, I would wipe away all the dust from the furniture and computers.

By 8am, I would quickly slip into my nice shirt and neck tie and settle down like a real executive. The first client would come in and I would give him my best smile ever.

I would ensure that his dossiers were well catered for so that he could commit himself into writing out a cheque. I knew that this cheque was not only important to my employers but to me as well. I knew that my meagre salary would probably come out from this particular cheque.

Just as the morning progressed and the streets became alive again with sounds of honking cars and yelling vendors, my bosses would come in. As the professional doorman himself, I would leap over to open for them.

The snobbish wife would eye me in a manner which suggested that she had drunk so much wine the previous night. Whenever she eyed me in such a way, I would dash upstairs to prepare her a hot pot of great Arabica coffee. She would pick up the cup and take one sip.

Then she would find her voice and shout at the top of her croaky voice. “You! Do you want to kill me? Quickly take this back and make a better one!”

I would rush back as clients watched on. In their faces, you could detect their confusion. Was this young lad a cashier or a coffee boy? Anyhow, I would emerge back with another pot of steaming coffee.

After another sip she would return to her rebuking ways, spitting real fire. “Are you the one who buys sugar around here? Why did you put in one spoon only?”

In the meantime, the husband would be running his fingers across the furniture to check for dust. “Are you the one who buys soap around here?” he would ask.

Then their daughter would come up with flimsy claims that the flowers in the office were suffering from kwashiorkor. “Quickly, water these flowers before it is too late”.

Off I would scramble for more water to pour into the flower pots.
Phew! What a job. I really was a Jack of all trades! Different from what I was now enjoying with Aggrey at the NGO Gikondo compound.

Surely, this UN cashier should have tolerated us when we failed to sign for our cash dollars. I believe that she would have understood more if only she had known about my experiences at my relative’s agency.