Jende sends Clark Edwards an email, announcing his return home. Clark returns the message a couple of hours later, inviting Jende to stop by his office before he leaves. Jende goes to Clark’s office, wearing the same black suit he wore on his first day to work as Clark’s chauffeur. When he walks in, Clark stands from behind his desk to greet him. He smiles and offers his hand to shake. Jende gives his condolences for Cindy’s death and says that he was at the memorial service but didn’t have the opportunity to express his sorrow then. Jende notices how Clark’s new office has neither a sofa nor a view of Central Park but a view of Queens instead.
Clark’s greeting in this instance is the opposite of how he greeted Jende during their first meeting. He’s fully attentive and humble. Unlike their last, which was imbued by Clark’s guilt, he’s fully interested and sympathetic with Jende’s need to change his life. Clark has expressed a similar need by moving into a less extravagant office. He seems to have adopted some of Vince’s ideas about simplicity and Mighty’s interest in human interaction.
Clark says that he and Mighty are moving to Virginia. He found a job in Washington, DC, lobbying for credit unions. His parents are also moving from California to be closer to them. Clark tells Jende that family is everything, which he’s sure Jende already understands. He also says that Vince is thinking of opening a retreat center for American execs visiting Mumbai. He told Clark that, if his business idea doesn’t work out in India, he may go to Bolivia instead. They laugh at the image of Vince and his followers sitting with their legs crossed, “doing that chanting and meditation thing.” When their laughter dies down, Jende says that Vince is “a very special young man” and that, if there were more like him, there’d be more happiness in the world.
Clark’s interest in working for credit unions is his way of making amends for his complicity in Lehman Brothers’ unethical behavior. He can now be an advocate for the consumers who were harmed in the crisis. Like Vince, he wants to harness his privilege to do some good in the world. Though Jende and Clark make fun of what they perceive as Vince’s alternative lifestyle, they admire his willingness to go out into the world and effect the change that he wants to see.
Jende says that he stopped by, not only to say goodbye, but to thank Clark for the job that he gave him. Clark is touched. No one has ever traveled so far to thank him for paying for a service. Jende goes on to say that, when others talk about how bad people from Wall Street are, he doesn’t agree because Clark, a Wall Street man, gave him a job that helped him take care of his family. Clark says that it was a great experience to know Jende and that he’s sorry their time together had to end. Jende says that good times, like bad times, must come to an end. Clark sends his regards to Neni, while Jende sends special greetings to Mighty from him and Neni.
Clark didn’t realize how important Jende’s job was to giving him his start. He realizes that Jende wasn’t just another person who worked for him, but was someone who took great pride in his work for the feeling of opportunity that it gave him. Jende has a more complex view of the financial crisis, due to his relationship with Clark. He doesn’t think in terms of the simple binary of good and evil but regards Clark as a man who made mistakes but was capable of generosity.
Out of curiosity, Clark asks why the Jongas are returning home. Jende says that his asylum application wasn’t approved. Clark wishes that Jende had told him about his case because he has a good friend from Stanford who’s an associate director at Immigration. At the very least, Clark could’ve gotten a recommendation for an excellent lawyer. Jende tells him that, though his body is still in America, his heart has already returned to Cameroon.
Jende probably didn’t tell Clark about his situation because he didn’t want Clark to know that he was technically employing an undocumented worker. Jende was afraid that that revelation would cause him to lose his job. Not having a valid work permit, he wouldn’t have been able to find another like it.
Clark goes over to his briefcase and returns with a white envelope, which he hands to Jende. Jende thanks him and then asks if Clark has heard from Leah. Clark says that he heard from her a couple of months ago, when she tried to get a job at his current firm, but there’s a hiring freeze. He asks Clark to say goodbye to her for him, if Clark ever sees her again. Jende hopes that Leah will be okay. Clark says that he’s sure she’s fine; the economy’s improving.
The hiring freeze comes from reluctance to take on more people due to the fragility of the economy. Clark’s certainty that Leah is “fine” exposes how detached he is from the hardships that so many working Americans are experiencing. Though Jende isn’t American, he had more contact with working people than Clark did.