JBFC Staff Swap

February 1, 2013 4:13 pm Published by

The executive director cooking ugali for 300 students; the head registrar dressed in masai garb, protecting the campus; and the assistant head teacher washing sheets by hand?

No, it’s not Freaky Friday. It’s JBFC Staff Switch Day.

Boniface is Masai garb.

It’s become annual tradition on campus for staff members to switch jobs to gain new respect for each other and everyone’s roles in making the JBFC mission happen every day. It all started in 2010, after I realized our staff didn’t have any idea of what happened in other departments. Like many companies with lots of moving parts, every department believed theirs was the best and did the lion’s share of the work. My solution: employees would swap jobs twice a year.

Staff Swap Day 2013 featured a new twist – it was the first year we included guests. Typically, we don’t have very many visitors during this time of year. But our guests, Holly and Annie, were great troopers and loved the day!

JBFC Guest Annie teaching 1st Grade.

Annietaught first grade and Holly taught second. 

Guest Holly and Papa’s Server, Collins, teaching 2nd grade.

One of our livestock workers and one of our new secondary teachers got to play “wageni” or guests.

Samo posing as Guest Coordinator George

Mr. Samo, our new school headmaster, took on the role of guest coordinator (even donning acting Guest Coordinator, George Landrum’s hat) and took pictures throughout the day. 

And Chacha, who is our assistant campus manager usually in charge of tools and livestock, was headmaster for the day in charge of herding children.

He said “I never knew children had so many cases…I kept asking myself all day ‘where is all of this coming from?'”
Chacha on a break from helping students.

While Chacha managed the school, several of JBFC’s Joseph & Mary teachers headed out to the farm. 

Edith, our assistant head teacher, Grace, who is the teacher’s assistant for preschool, and Ludanha, a secondary school teacher, spent the day fashioning a new rabbit hutch.

Edith, Grace, & Ludanha building a rabbit hutch.

Fatuma, the head of housekeeping for JBFC’s restaurant, Papa’s, took my job and was the director for the day, while I headed into the kitchens with George Landrum(guest coordinator shown below with 2nd grade assistant teacher, Limi, and Bartholomew, who works as a carpenter). George learned to cook ugali for the first time. Ugali is a typical African dish made of cornmeal that resembles a thick porridge. We did breakfast and then ugali and cabbage stew for our lunch. Yummy.
Limi, George, and Bartholomew stirring up some ugali.
And as expected the staff switch-up prompted some hilarious learning experiences for us all.
In the kitchen, we made three times as much chai as we needed and the students complained it didn’t have enough sugar. Turns out we used the regular amount of sugar, but three times the water. It took us more than two hours to get the water to boil, causing the lunch schedule to be slightly behind schedule.
Mr. Jonas gaining new respect for our housekeepers.

But one of the funniest things to happen all day was in housekeeping. Mama Emma, who is the guest housekeeper had been putting off washing A TON of sheets. When she found out it was staff switch day, she went and put all of them in soapy water, including all of George’s laundry.

She then told Mr. Jonas, our assistant headmaster, that all of them had to be done. Poor guy probably worked the hardest he ever had in his life!!! He told the rest of the staff he has a new found respect for house ladies and what they go through every day.

Chris Gates is the Founder, Executive Director & Occasional Ugali Chef for JBFC.

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This post was written by Mainsprings