Bits of ME
A splash of water on the floor, and echoes of his name would be heard.
Food stains, plates with left overs begging to be binned, spilled tea on one’s own desk and Martin would rise up a trot to clear up.
As the toilets beckoned his wash, a scrubbing long brush in hand, Martins day is imposed to tidying up.
At the slightest summon, he would jump on his feet: voices including mine would chorus his name if something was needed.
Brought in as an office cleaner in his teens in 2009, NBS offices at UAP, the ‘rag hugging’ humble boy mushroomed into a messenger thanklessly for his bounds of obedience.
All he did during day, was to consent to command, and in the wee hours, he was tied to my entertainment magazine show as my man on camera.
Bits of YOU
To be seen as a label of what others denounce including those who indulge is never one’s fate, I have learnt from Martin. And his timeline in history is a vivid case.
The first born of three, in a family which depended on his mother’s tomato stall, his father was an on and off special hire driver.
By 15 years of age, Martin Kisaamu had dropped out of school and managed to get his first job at Shoprite as a window cleaner earning Shs 100,000 a month.
“Before a friend of mine connected me to this job, fees defaulting at school had condemned me home for over a year. Our mother was the lone rescuer since my father was at the mercy of a car owner who either drove his own car nor didn’t procure an alternative taxi for his employee,” Kisaamu explained.
He found his breakthrough at NBS TV as office cleaner. His new found joy had a rare homecoming; floors, windows, bathrooms, toilets, overbearing characters, all that needed a treat.
Humility conquers the misers but also tames the masters; that was the weapon in his locker. For it survived him the roughs of a chaotic industry.
From the outset, he didn’t earn much to make a consistent return back home. So, on many nights, he found homage at his workplace.
“…I didn’t sleep much. I would clean all the offices in the night, then sneak into the studio and watch the live recording of the music show SNL as MC Percy and DJ Ivan did their thing with Henry Kyomu and Baby Ben on Camera,” Kisaamu revealed.
“I used to admire camera men and saw them as exceptional, I deeply wanted to be one.”
His request to hold the light equipment for SNL were positively received and with it, camera work tutorials.
His requests knocked me too; Pundonor Magazine, a programme I hosted then couldn’t resist him on team.
“I used to like Pundonor Magazine and fascinated by you interviewing celebrities. The day I recorded Bobi Wine for the first time, I hardly believed myself,” Kisaamu reminisced.
Need I say it again, to see yourself in the light of what you believe is your greatest strength: Kisaamu’s passion and interest on camera work enthralled the production manager Ivan Isama Kalla. He had earned his fantasy.
Doubling as an office cleaner and a camera man (unofficial) for five years was bitter sweet.
“There were people in the field who would see me as a camera man in the night and when they came to NBS TV during the day, they would find me toilet cleaning and scrubbing. I would feel embarrassed but I never gave up, I had to be patient,” he said.
By 2015 Martin Kisaamu had changed his profession cards from an office cleaner to an official NBS TV camera man and was recruited as part of the Production Dept.
Since the first programme that Kisaamu was allowed to record independently ten years ago, he has been on camera for NBS programs like People and Power, Big Deal, KUT, Youth Voice, Chat Room, Face Off, School Debate, Kitchen Kings, UNCUT Sabula among others.
Martin Kisaamu today is living in a future he once saw himself walk, but distant and to many, the kind of future more befitting to those, at whose instruction he bowed.
He looks back at the boy in rugs with a rag and a long scrubbing brush and says, “I felt myself change into a new person. I left Martin the cleaner in the past and now I am the future Martin. Anyone can decide to do the same if they choose to.”
Crossing paths again with education would complete his romance in the corporate world. Is there a Martin in your life?