I forgot to ask his name, but he was a "watch man" who had his small stand one minute away from my office. So I used to greet him every morning on my way to the office. Sometimes we chatted for a minute or two, and I learned that he has 15 children-- 6 son and 6 daughters (?? they don't add up to 15... ), and some of his children had died young. He said he walked everyday from his neighbourhood which must be around 7km away.
When the insecurity got heightened, I could not go to the office. After two weeks or so, I saw him at his usual place, and we greeted. I was happy to see him again. I asked him if everything was all right, and he replied, no. Apparently, he no longer had his wooden stand. All the used watches on sale were lying on a cloth laid on dirt street. He told me that that Thursday afternoon, when we were told to leave the Office quickly due to the fighting nearby, his stand was taken away by armed men. Then he took his cap away, and showed me a bruise on top of his head, and a trail of blood inside his cap. Around the same time, he was stopped by "armed men" who took his telephone etc. away and hit him to bleed, in his neighbourhood. He said he was treated at a nearby clinic ran by MSF.
This man, who was making his life out of a modest watch repairing/selling business, had no reason to be deprived of his right to work, right to protection, and the right for the most basic human respect.
I wanted to support him but didn't know how to (I didn't want to just give out money). So I asked him how much it would cost him to buy a new stand to put the watches, and gave him that amount. I also picked the yellow clock, and asked him to repair it for me. The guard who was accompanying me whispered why I did not buy a new clock in a nearby supermarket ran by a Lebanese, that they would be nicer. I told him that I wanted to support this man's business, and he nodded.
So I have with me now this yellow clock. Not that I really like the style, but as a reminder of how difficult the life is for many people in this continent, and of their courage, and smile, despite the bitterness they bite, maybe today, again.