Laurel and Associates, Ltd. – Madison, WI



On August 14, 2014, Posted by , In Travelogue, By , , With Comments Off on Nairobi

Random musings and observations.

Yesterday at lunch, I sat with Mercy and Joyce, who are the only two women in the class. A group of tall, slender, very dark people came into the dining room. The women told me that they were Sudanese and tended to be very stuck up. I don’t know about that. All I can tell you is that their dark chocolate skin was beautiful.

I wore a very bright colorful dress today. Sammy mentioned that at another train the trainer session he had attended, they had been told that the facilitator is also an audiovisual. He asked me what I thought about it. I looked down at my dress, looked up at him and said that I absolutely agreed. I had never heard that before and it tickles me.

Today at lunch I had the kale and Kenyan stew and rice that I described in yesterday’s message. Ugalu was also on the menu but I passed on that. I think I tried it in Zambia. It looks like a solid block of white cream of wheat.

Where there would be one person doing a specific job in the States, here in Kenya there are four or five or even more.

The security detail at the entrance to the hotel manually raises a barrier to let the car in. Then another security person walks around the car with an electronic device to check under the car, while another person opens the back doors and looks in the car. Then a fourth person manually raises the second barrier to let the car drive up to the hotel.

Traffic is absolutely crazy, with people, motorcycles, buses and cars all jockeying to go on their way. I told James today that he had to have eyes in the front, sides and back of his head to safely maneuver through this craziness. He told me that he had one guiding principle: don’t hit anyone. With this in mind, he slows down and stops in intersections. After traveling a long distance with James last December, I trust his reflexes completely.

My participants laugh continually. They are a very happy culture, laughing and smiling, shaking hands or shoulder bumping throughout the day. I don’t think I have ever laughed so much. They get a kick out of everything.

Their insights and observations prove that they are an incredibly well educated, business-aware and training-savvy bunch of folks. I am pleased with every single one of them.

Yesterday, one of the learning activities was a questionnaire. I explained that a questionnaire was a terrific way to convert a lecture into a participatory activity. The questionnaire we worked with pertained to business identity. When we finished debriefing the questionnaire, they said that it would take them a full day of lecturing to cover the information transmitted through the 10-minute questionnaire.

I used a peg system for teaching the seven motivational tools for the first time today. What a terrific experience. It worked perfectly! First I associated a different movement for the numbers 1 through 7. They loved the movements, particularly jumping up and down saying ta dah! (for success)and sashaying around holding their “lapels” (for confidence). We went through them a number of times during the day and it was clear that the peg system worked- they could immediately recall what the activity represented. Very cool!
I spoke with the reception desk about the fact that my flight on Saturday doesn’t leave until 10:25 p.m. I wanted to know if I could arrange to stay in my room rather than vacating it at noon. First, the fellow told me they charged 75% of the day charge from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. and then another 75% from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. I shook my head, saying I wouldn’t do that. So he looked at me and asked if I would change my mind if he charged me 50% of the room charge and allowed me to stay in my room until I had to leave for the airport. I jumped at that offer. So now I won’t have to wander aimlessly around until James picks me up at 7 p.m. That is a great relief.

The next time I come to Kenya, assuming there is a next time and I hope there is, I now know that I should only bring chocolate candy. There are some folks who get to the class early. As soon as I put out the candy bowls, they scavenge for the chocolate. Bowls that were overfull at 7:30 a.m. are almost completely depleted by 8:30 when the class officially begins. In the evening, all that is left are the tootsie rolls and hard candies. They even mow through the sugar free candies, all of which have chocolate coatings.

I just looked at what I wrote. I don’t know how a candy can be sugar-free and still have chocolate, but apparently it is possible.

It was Sammy’s 40th birthday today. Pius told me about it after lunch and asked if they could have a quick celebration. He also had me sign a card they made out of one of the colored construction papers I put on the tables. They got Sammy up in front of the class through a pretense, then sang Happy Birthday, gave him pipe cleaner gifts (I gave him a paddle toy), then asked him for a speech. He was funny and articulate.

The morning was very chilly, as it has been every day since I’ve been here. Today, it did warm up and get sunny, but at the end of the day I am just too tired to do anything other than go up to my room.

Oh, speaking of that. The elevator is a big pain in the neck. It closes and then opens again, once or twice, before closing for good and finally moving. It is a very reluctant elevator. And I am typically a very impatient passenger.

I need to do battle with the video camera. I tried to download yesterday’s full day of videos and couldn’t manage it, even having it work all night. I don’t know what it was working on, because I could only see the Day 1 and Day 2 video clips I had somehow downloaded earlier.

I tried again at 5:45 a.m. and thought that I was finally making headway, only to return from breakfast to discover that my laptop didn’t have sufficient memory. I have to figure out how to delete the first two days’ worth of videos from the camcorder. Otherwise, I don’t know that I’ll have sufficient space on the camcorder to video the full six hours I need to cover tomorrow. I wish I were more technologically and electronically literate. My father’s electronic engineering gene completely jumped over me and landed on my children instead. No fair!!

To add injury to that insult, I am also unable to decipher instruction manuals. So, there you are. Maybe the Internet will have the information I need to help me resolve this problem.




Comments are closed.