I was browsing through my digital photo gallery from the past year and ran across the above image. I’d forgotten about this very interesting gentleman. Amon Nyirenda ‘hails’ from Malawi, and he’s certainly a welcome twist to the Diaspora at Work series. Amon is one of the managers at the helm of the main dining hall aboard Royal Caribbean’s massive Navigator of the Seas cruise ship. And it’s probably the last place one would expect to find a Malawi expat, let alone a wandering Ugandan. I was on-board as the official papparazzi photographer for a friend’s wedding and took notice of Amon when he was introduced during dinner, after a crew-led song and dance number that had the entire dining hall singing in unison.
Although based in Malawi, we’ll still count Amon among Africa’s Diaspora that’s bringing home not only foreign reserves, but foreign know-how in regards to the various Diaspora-funded investments. Amon started working for Malawi Hotels and got a chance opportunity to work on a cruise ship back in 2000. Since then, he’s worked his way from the bowels to the prestigious position as a head manager in the main dining hall on the ship. Along the way Amon has amassed years of hospitality management experience overseeing the thousands of sea-farers that dine in the Nutcracker dining hall.
Amon plans on using his earnings and the wealth of accumulated global experiences to invest in a restaurant in Malawi within two years, and yours truly will be among the special guests invited for the grand opening (never mind that I invited myself). Apart from saving for his dream investment, Amon uses his foreign paycheck the very same way many of us Diasporans probably do – to support his family and his retired parents. Here’s to hoping for continued success for yet another Diasporan hard at work, investing in Africa.
I made sure to chorale Amon for a few minutes during his busy routine attending to nearly 2000 well-dressed, buoyant, guests to find out a little bit more about his journey to sea. As an aside, I have to say that’s one of my favorite portraits that I’ve done. He has a “honest” and well-groomed visage. If you are ever on-board the Navigator, make sure to say hello, tell him I sent you.
DAW:Amon Nyirenda Sets Sail [ Audio | 6:13 | MP3 ]
DAW:Amon Nyirenda Sets Sail
Check out the DAW Gallery for more images of Amon at work.