Who should CafeDeli host next Valentine’s Day?

Café Deli was a security risk to the country on February 14th, as about fifty police officers drawn from top brass of Nairobi city from all formations, regular, traffic, crime units some in weather-beaten brown jackets and others in workmen overalls were for the first time in their careers hosted for a valentine’s brunch.

Obado Obado, the Café Deli founder met these two brown jackets on the flight of stairs thinking they were ordinary customers to explain that he had reserved the top floor of the two-storey establishment built around Rubis Petrol station on Koinange street for his special guests. A brief conversation and his eyes light up. 

“Those gentlemen just told me they are not visitors here, they have been around the last three days,” and our faces light up too ‘recce’.  “I have been told this is a security risk, with the terror alerts and all, the very top of the force in one place, we cannot even host this event live, I was told once they leave, then we can go public about it,” he says. 

For the last four years, Café Deli has been hosting special guests for valentine. The hotel chain first hosted ancients from a Home for the elderly, orphans the next year and last year the frontline medical staff. Mr Obado says other than the unique opportunity to do corporate social responsibility and marketing, these encounters have given him immense fulfillment. 

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“One of the old folks told me they had never been to such a place, this was a lifetime opportunity. And the children, they found a career immediately, they wanted to be hoteliers,” he says. 

This year, it was the police, a forlorn lot especially when their superiors are around; filling up the stairs in shinny boots, in blue, sometimes brown uniform with the only indication they were going to valentine’s party being the strip of red on the police insignia carefully embroidered on their sleeves.

Obado begins the brunch with a moment of silence, befitting for their dozen-and-a-half comrades, who have lost their lives to the rise of bandit attacks in the North of the country sparked by fight for dwindling resources due to the prolonged drought. It is silent, save for the static of police walkie talkie radios broadcasting crime and traffic snarl ups across the city. 

The CafeDeli CEO says this valentines brunch took a year to plan. Initially, he wanted to invite traffic police, as a gesture for the service they render under the sun with little appreciation, but he was told that would bring the city to a standstill. So the service handpicked a few officers from different units. 

The police said they were elated to be hosted for a valentine’s meal for the first time in their careers. In return, they hailed the city’s business community for recognizing the efforts it has taken to make it safe to walk in the city after crime spiked dramatically at the end of last year. They called upon the city residents to cooperate with them to weed out the rogue elements in the society making a food analogy, that they were like stones in beans that must be removed before a meal is cooked.  

I witnessed how a simple meal, a stem of red rose and a simple gesture of love on Valentine’s Day can soften the stiff, gun-totting, and rather intimidating police men and women working away from their families. 

“Who should I host next year,” Obado Obado poses the question to a few of us journalists. I said I’ll have to think about it, but then I think maybe I should ask Maudhui readers. Who should Café Deli host for next year’s valentine’s? 

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One thought on “Who should CafeDeli host next Valentine’s Day?

  • Emmanuel Oyier

    Journalists of course

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