There Ain’t No Bed, Bath & Beyond
Event planning. I actually like it, and from the few events I’ve coordinated, I think I’m good at it. For our first church service, I was tasked with setting up the “hospitality area.” You know, coffee, tea, and everything that goes with that. But people, their ain’t no Bed, Bath and Beyond here. No Amazon to order stuff and have it the next day. No WALMART. I will never, ever bash Walmart again. Oh, to just run to Walmart. But I digress.
My job was to acquire 100 cups (Yes, real cups; disposable plates, cups, etc. are overpriced and it’s cheaper to wash than to keep buying throwaway stuff), 4 Air Pots (haha, I laugh at myself even now, thinking that would be available), coffee stirrers (again, yeah right, we’re in Kenya), and sugar.
Up to this point in our Kenyan adventure, I’ve shied away from the local market. There are a couple of western style “big box” stores here, and honestly, their convenience has served me better than saving a couple of bucks. However, for this task, I obviously wanted to save as much money as possible, especially since it was church money. So, I asked our groundkeeper, Duncan, to accompany me to the market. It just so happens that he is also a chef and knew the best places to go for the said items.
Duncan drove, which, can I just tell you that unless you have a professional driver drive for you here, you are safer to drive yourself. After a scary, almost-hit-four-cars, drive into town, we parked. Parking in Nakuru Town is 100 KSH or about $1.15. Fine. No problem…except that there is NEVER a parking attendant when you need one.
The parking attendants wear yellow coats, so you wait and wait at your car, and every time you see someone in yellow clothes, you get excited. Then you realize they are just a normal person wearing a yellow shirt that day. (I think yellow shirts should be banned in town, but who’s asking me?) Anyway, of course there was no parking attendant to be found, and Duncan just left the money with a shop keeper to pay the fee for us. This always makes me nervous, but it is an accepted practice here, and generally you can trust the shopkeepers to actually pay the fee for you. Thankfully, this time that was true.
We proceeded to walk around the “shops” (think tiny tin boxes that are less than 100 square feet, stacked from floor to ceiling) requesting 100 cups and getting the same response: “We’re out of stock,” or however you say that in Swahili. After the fourth shop, we realize that whoever supplies the specific cups we would like has obviously not made a shipment to these shops, and we’re going to have to make a different choice. We had a couple of options.
Or option 2:
The pastel cups were significantly cheaper, so much so, that if we hated them they could be considered disposable (I know, I’m contradicting myself. I’m a girl, I get to do that.). Okay, finally something purchased. But still no airpots.
We went to one final store that had just enough room for 4 people to stand inside, and we began the search for airpots. Y’all know airpots, right? Tall, thermos-like containers that keep the coffee warm, and when you push down on the top, coffee comes out of the spout? Okay, well. Apparently, those do not exist in Kenya. Thermoses, they’ve got – in just about any shape, size, and color – but they are bulky, without handles or spouts. You know, similar to what was in your lunch box in the 3rd grade.
About an hour, 42 thermoses, and 16 trips up the attic stairs later, four thermoses were acquired. Look at these y’all. They are hideous.
Honestly, at this point, I really didn’t care. I went with the coffee ones because I wouldn’t have to make a sign. The red ones? Well, yellow and green were the other choices. Which would you choose?
I came home and told Adam I didn’t want to hear any opinions of the items I purchased. No, they don’t match, but they were the best choices for the price point and TIK, baby. TIK. (This is Kenya.)