We walked into the cafeteria just like we did every day, but were greeted by the Polish sister’s foul mood, she runs the catholic mission. It was 7:50pm and she went off..."non non non, you are late, I didn’t get any information from you, you can’t eat here, I want to let the workers go home..." and she went on a long rant, causing a scene.
My colleague and I were shocked, but he handled things so well. He started by educating her on how to address people. Instead of making a scene, speaking privately, aside, would have been more appropriate. She didn’t ask any questions, or she would have known that we had sent information in the afternoon to notify her that we would have dinner there. She tried to insist and impose her authority but he refuted it diplomatically, then we left.
I was away for a week and returned to meet the catholic mission full. There was a conference, so the participants occupied nearly all the rooms. Only two rooms were free which my colleagues occupied. Those of us who arrived at that time had to stay in another guest house which in honesty was better. There is electricity almost all day unlike the catholic mission where this was provided for only three hours a day. On hot days, there is air conditioning to go back to, and you guessed right, there’s WIFI – things that are now luxury after living in the catholic mission for close to a month. The plan was to return to the catholic mission after the conference, but we chose to stay on at the other guest house. However, the food at the catholic mission is good and they try to put out variety. By default, we all eat there, not for free of course!
It seems that this sister did not appreciate that we were not staying there and started to make new rules. I noticed when I returned that she had an attitude but I didn't give it any thought. One day, we arrived and she said we were late but I laughed it off. After that day, she hardly responded to my greetings until she stopped completely. When I asked if everything was fine with her, two replies I got were that she has phases and mood swings. To give her benefit of doubt and being a woman as well, I took it that it might have been that time of the month. All this drama happened in the span of one week and things had obviously been building, prior to her outburst.
1) There was absolutely no reason for that outburst
2) All for food?
3) She represents an institution, a little more tact would be welcome
You know how you leave a place asking yourself in Nigerian pidgin parlance 'na me be dis?' All the feelings I had could not come out in words at that moment.
I wasn't particularly hungry so I lost my appetite. Another colleague joined us and we tried to find food, mostly for them. The sister had jinxed the night and there was little available anywhere. There was only one plate of food left which they shared. We rehashed the events of the night and laughed about it. Thankfully, that would be the last time for now that I would need to go there as I am heading off to the field. I'll be away for long enough for this phase of hers to pass, I hope!