Early on this week MyThinks published a short satirical piece regarding the multi-million upgrade undertaken by the Ministry of Education at their new Wellington headquarters. Apart from pointing out the obvious flaws of a ministry deciding to spend millions on upgrading a fit-for-purpose building when some schools around the country are in various states of disrepair, we also suggested they had spent thousands hiring a talented Italian barista. Although this was intended as a humourous exaggeration at the time, little did we know that the Education Ministry had indeed hired a talented Italian barista to tend their $40,000 state-of-the-art industrial barista machine that was recently installed in their plush $2.3 million koru-style “whare o te pononga mā.”
We thought it was unfair to single out a migrant worker in this way so we sent out our junior reporter Kate Serrano to seek out an interview with Enzo Abrami. This is his story.
My uber-car pulls up to a small apartment complex in Island Bay. As I pay the driver he gives me a cheery smile. I exit the car and he speeds off to locate his next mark.
My finger gently depresses the buzzer marked “Enzo from Italia” linked to apartment 3. A metallic voice announces the door is open, which is followed closely by the door buzzing. I push it open and walk the foyer stairs to the second floor and knock gently on a door emblazoned with the number tre. The door is opened by a devilishly handsome man wearing only a towel and a smile that just wouldn’t quit.
“You here from the blog?” he asks. Stepping aside, motions to a couch in the lounging area.
“Please, sit down.”
I cannot resist his gentle instruction. I walk in and sit down.
“I will be needing some clothing on for the interview,” he announces and disappears to the bedroom. Whether by design or not, due to various strategically placed mirrored surfaces, I am fully aware of everything he is changing from and to. Nothing is left to my imagination. Nothing. Nothing at all.
He returns wearing a pair of tight chinos, a Lacoste Sportif polo shirt and a twinkle in his eye.
“You are here to talk about my new job, no?” he asks sitting down.
Momentarily I am lost for words but after a shuffle of my notes and a quickly regather my senses. I ask Enzo what brought him to New Zealand. He tells me a delegation from the Education Ministry flew to his hometown of Salerno in July last year and held an X-Factor-style quest to find, what they called, a man of immense talent.
I asked what type of things they were required to show the delegation.
“Oh, it was many things,” Enzo told me, “We needed to show how we could make coffee. We had to show our dancing ability. Also we needed to show our abilities in slowly picking things up off the ground while looking suggestively behind us.”
The image that creates in my head briefly destabilises me but I’m quickly back in the room and Enzo continues his story.
Following the month-long quest to find their barista, the Education Ministry delivered his immigration papers to his home before returning with Enzo to his new Wellington abode. Enzo tells me he was forced by the delegation to travel business class to New Zealand while they slummed it in first class.
Upon his arrival in Wellington, Enzo was shown around his newly renovated apartment, given keys to his diplomatic BMW and given a $7,000 per diem.
Reporters like me often have issues with the amount of money that can be spent by government departments, but in this case I can’t help but think how welcoming the Education Ministry has been to this struggling migrant.
“Enzo,” a voice calls suggestively from the bedroom, “come back to bed.”
“I have to go now,” says the young barista as he stands and leads me to the door, “thank you for coming.”
As he closes the door slowly he calls to the bedroom, “be with you shortly Mrs Hekia.”