Friday, May 25, 2012

The people I meet

Man: I almost fell asleep in there.

Lily: Yeah, it was pretty boring stuff. But you have to attend when you get here.

Man: If anything happens, their hands are clean. They gave you the information.

Lily: Have you been here long?

Man: 3 weeks

Lily: Yeah I just started this Monday.

Man: Where are you from?

Lily: Bulgaria

Man: Oh you must hate me then (laughs out loud)

Lily: Why? Where are you from?

Man: Libya

Lily: Yeah….

Shortly after mandatory Security Briefing to start a Friday morning


The type of experience and history some of the people out here at the UN have is pretty mind-blowing. This guy I met works for the Political Office of something (I still can’t get right all the abbreviations, acronyms and names of UN agencies, offices, desk and teams). His specialty: security. Work experience in the field: 47 years. Nationality: Somali. Worked for Interpol, back in the 70s. Visited Budapest in 1976 (the way Budapest came up in the conversation was as the capital of Bulgaria….). Must have been an interesting time, I said. Clearly, with all the socialism and communism around Europe at the time. Spent 10 years in Italy. And now advises and strategizes and so on about the security situation in Somalia.

Half the time I was thinking damn he actually comes from Somalia when it was a functioning country. The other half I was trying to wrap my mind around the idea that he has 47!!! years of work experience. That’s probably not including university education (must at least hold a bachelor’s degree to work at the UN, no?). Even if he started work when he was 20, that still makes him 67?! “That’s a lot of years working. Isn’t it time for a break?” I asked. It wasn’t is what he told me, cant give up. “My country still needs me.”

Point. Game. Set. Match.


Mary looks like she’s barely a teenager, could be younger. She was doing pedi for one of the women that work at the salon here. Child labor. Exploitation. Must be someone’s daughter. Ignore for now. I saw her the next day and I actually talked to her. Mary is here to train for a month. She travel’s every day from a neighbourhood close to Nairobi National Park to Gigiri – 2 hour commute each way. Not sure what she can learn or whether its worth the time, but I’d bet she’d have a better chance at life than most people.

Here’s to opportunities in Kenya.

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