Bits of ME
“I decided almost three months back to leave my lunchbox in the car because I got tired of splitting it with my workmates. Each time I arrive into office, one of the ‘perennial beggars’ questions me what I carried for ‘us’ as if my wife had him in mind while packing for me,” said Mutyaba Jackson (not real name) an accountant in one of the banks in Kampala.
He explained that many colleagues at the workplace, “tap your breakfast which you carry from home, do the same to your lunch yet they easily run off to spend money on food during the lunch hour which you can’t personally afford but opted to carry leftovers from home.
Mutyaba would rather ‘hideaway’ to eat from his car or wait until what he labelled ‘perennial beggars’ leave for the lunch break to quickly eat his ‘special food’ before they get back.
I am not one who so often packs breakfast or snacks from home to consume at the workplace but once in a while I have carried either a bottle of juice or coffee/tea in a thermos flask and I have seen many do the same.
Nothing is as embarrassing as work place gossip that labels certain employees as ‘oyo omusajja taswala kukwata mu buli mere ya muntu, asabiriza buli omu’ loosely translated to mean, ‘that shameless man is not afraid of dipping his hand in everyone’s food and whoever he encounters’.
Bits of YOU
My apprenticeship after my S.6 at a juice shop was a riveting experience introducing me to oddities of work: From my parent’s home to work, I carried food stuff ‘gyebavumbise’ loosely ‘dinner food baked in ash to stay warm’ for the following day’ to survive the day at work.
Had I met staff with uncontrolled appetite, I would then starve the entire day, given I didn’t have enough to afford other alternatives!
It is a reality for many but the alternative can be conflicting.
A Good Samaritan would simply chime the ‘sharing is golden bell’ which preaches, ‘to give is to receive’ but, is it not over stepped?
With the prevailing hard-up situation and the latest frugal spending by companies against allowances, breakfast, lunch, dipping your hands in your colleagues’s snacks may be discomforting.
The reason is simple: if you decide to spend Shs 5000 for breakfast, and even bigger expenditure for lunch, it means you are going to forego returning home with the daily home basics.
It is a tough choice, isn’t it?
So, the lunch box or thermos flask does it. But those who have taken this choice grit their teeth constantly from the onslaught from common vultures.
Some have exceeded mere tapping but outstretch their hands to pick in the absence of the owner because they know the “the owner will not complain”.
The owners fear to confront afraid being labelled ‘not team members, or ‘bakodo’ (miser)
They would rather suffer the hunger than the label.
‘Mwe ba’ Guy, lets save them such a tough choice by keeping hands off until when invited!