Sunday February 16 2014

The worst canteen in the world is...



By Stella Riunga

eoh no. When you go hungry and could starve because the service needs to be upped.

Have you ever had a relative you do not particularly like but who, for one reason or another, you are forced to live with? Yes, I see your face screwing up as you remember Aunt Dorotia, or Uncle Laban, or any one of their annoying children.

Now, that is my relationship with a certain restaurant. I work at an institution which I will not name. Let us call it Bankelele. Bankelele is served by one main pseudo-restaurant calling itself a Canteen.

According to my dictionary, a canteen is “a general store and cafeteria at a military base” so I don’t know why the canteen owners decided that Bankelele equals a military institution. Anyway! Let me explain why this Canteen is The Worst Canteen in the World. And that covers the whole world, including all the undiscovered territories at the poles.

Everyone knows that you must not have either too much majani or too much milk. And this is where the Worst Canteen in the World (WCiW) fails. They serve you ‘African tea’ that, if it contains even the slightest trace of majani, then it is in the form of a few leaves which look like refugees lost in the great expanse of milk. And then you ask for extra tea bags. Only to hear: “Sorry Madam, manager has said no extra tea bags” as if each costs Shs 10, 000. Why?

Orange jam
I once asked for bread with marmalade. The marmalade was right there in front of me, in its original container, with the name ‘Marmalade’ printed clearly on it. And the lad serving me told me there was no marmalade. I looked at him, perplexed, and pointed out the marmalade right in front of me. Only for him to smile and exclaim “Oh, you meant orange jam!”

What you want
At WCiW what you want will never be available and what is available will not be what you want. On the day you want bananas they will be displaying a bunch that looks like it’s suffering from measles.

The fried cassava will taste like it was dipped in acid instead of oil and the cakes will be so dry you imagine they pass through a moisture-sucking machine. Hunger will drive you to select one of these options but trust me, you will hate yourself.

You must be wondering why I keep going back there, like returning to an abusive partner. Well, fate has designed it in such a way that WCiW is the only ‘restaurant’ close to my office. And so the suffering continues. When shall it end?