Thursday, 10 March 2016

My First Job!

Right after High School, I got a job at a place called "Hotel Secretaries".  It was located in town righ next to the New Stanley Hotel on Kenyatta Avenue. Don't know where the name came from, but it was an office that had much going on. The part I worked at was a rental for vacation homes along the coast; Mombasa, Diani Beach, Kilifi, Watamu, Malindi, Lamu.  The office was also a temp agency and organized Balloon Safaris. I always wanted to go on one, but one balloon safari cost as much as my monthly salary... 3,000 kenyan shillings! With the current rate, that would be $39 Canadian dollars (US $29)! I just looked up what a Balloon safari costs now and it's $450! Should have broken the bank and gone then!

Inbetween my work at Hotel Secretaries, I got a two month stint working at Newsweek which was just down the road also on Kenyatta Avenue, closer to 680 Hotel. It was a local bureau office and I worked for the the bureau chief, Ray Wilkinson (I looked up the office and Ray is still the bureau chief 30 years later!) It was a fun job. The first thing I did when I got to work was to go through the evening before's newswire... reams and reams of paper coming out of this machine with news and I'd have to highlight any interesting news for the bureau chief!

I then decided I should take up accounting and so got a job as a bookkeeper at a company called C.G. Punjani on Kijabe Street. In the evening I'd go for accounting classes to Strathmore College (the sister school to my high school, Kianda). Don't know what possessed me to do accounting, I didn't like it! The office was great fun to work at though. We had Tito and Christopher who were cricket players on the Aga Khan team, Mr. and Mrs. Manji a husband and wife team, Rahim, who had recently moved to Nairobi from India and was a hoot!, Sherali, the main accountant and our boss, Janice, one of the main accountants (went to her wedding), Sangita (the receptionist), Kamalu, the salesman boss and Tajdin Nanji, of the Nanji family that owned the company. We'd get Indian tea twice a day and we'd order the most delicious pastries from a bakery down the road close to Norfolk Hotel. Often at lunch time, I'd walk to our 'Khoja' mosque that was in the centre of town and hang out at the library reading 'Woman' and 'Woman's Own'! I learned to thread the hair from my face in those Khoja mosque bathrooms!

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