This morning I got an sms from my night guard Peter* with a request to call him urgently. Peter is a very nice and trustworthy person who would never contact me for no reason. This sounded like an emergency and I returned his call immediately.
He told me that his salary has not been paid by his employer – a local security company and that he wasnt able to pay his rent for the current month.
His employer uses a certain bank for salary transfers which had collapsed last week according to widespread news. As a result all money placed in the bank is locked until further notice. According to the media the collapse is a result of liquidity shortages due to unsecured insider loans of around 13.6-billion shillings (130 Mill $) which were paid out mainly to top management.
When Peter came home this morning from his night-shift he was unable to enter his house because his landlord refused to give him access. Peter asked if I could help him out until salary payments are released. I asked him how much his rent is and he mentioned it is only 2000 ksh (around 20 USD). I didn’t have to think twice and gave him the money. Though this would only cover for his rent.
The average salary of a security guard like Peter is around 100 USD depending on the area. After deducting running costs like rent it would leave him with roughly 2.50 USD per day…. just about enough to survive. Needless to say that it doesn’t leave much room for any savings to cover for situations like this.
This is just another sad example of how innocent people who have little to no power to make their voices heard have to suffer from mismanagement of highly-paid top managers.
I am not sure if this makes me more sad or angry…in any case it reminds me to be grateful and puts my problems into perspective. #RealityCheck
On a sidenote: most houses and apartment blocks in Nairobi are surrounded by a 2 meter wall topped with an electric fence. Each compound usually has security guards who’s main task it is to open the gate and check on visitors before they are allowed to enter the compound.