Laurel and Associates, Ltd. – Madison, WI

Nairobi, Kenya

Nairobi, Kenya

On December 13, 2014, Posted by , In Travelogue, By , , With Comments Off on Nairobi, Kenya

Hello. This day started with the excitement of seeing a 1927 Bentley that a Belgium couple has been driving around the world!

I’ve attached photos of the car, which drew a crowd of about 30 in front of the hotel as the man and woman packed up to go. I’ve also got a photo of the woman, who put on three layers of clothing as well as that helmet-like hat. Given the fact that there is no cover for the driver and passenger (and the fact that it has been raining for the past few days), her outfit is a wise one. I don’t know how they manage in the rain- I suppose they pull over under protection somewhere, but I don’t really know.

James was very late picking me up (almost 8:40 am). I spent the time talking with Joshua, the major domo, who has been very nice to me. When I can’t reach James or can’t hear what James is saying over the phone, Joshua has handled the conversations on my behalf. You’ll see a picture of him in his sartorial splendor.

There was a car parked in front of the hotel with a flag on it, which was apparently the Deputy Chinese ambassador’s car. That explains the banquet setting in the morning, when two Chinese men carefully put out chopsticks and little white holders at each place setting.

Joshua said that the President of Sudan is staying at the hotel right now. When Joshua was still doing housekeeping, he took care of Michelle and Obama’s room. They visited when both children were in diapers.

Joshua also said that Kenya couldn’t exist without the funding it receives from the US. I asked him “why?” – since they have many natural resources. He said that they didn’t know how to reach the resources. One example: there is a water tap just a few feet away from Lake Victoria and the tap is dry.

So, this place is clearly THE place to be if you are anyone in politics. I’m not sure why they let me stay…

Because this is still an official holiday, there was almost no traffic on the roads. As a result, three people were already in the room at 8:50 when I finally got there. A total of 12 folks ultimately came.

This was the first and only day when the concepts were really difficult for the group. I was extremely proud of myself as I explained the difference between minimum affordable price, break-even price, price floor and price ceiling (something I never knew before!)

Unfortunately, I had to explain it in different ways, drawing on the flip chart and the white board. My reward was when the woman who hadn’t understood any of it at the beginning explained it to someone else at the end.

Interestingly enough, when talking about raising prices when a service was in high demand, the participants talked about the fact that this is the high season for circumcisions (of adolescent boys). It makes me cringe, and I’m not a boy!

Because this ate up so much time, that meant that we had to work through six case studies as a large group, rather than in the small groups that they enjoy and that was the original design and intent. But we got through everything.

I even had very nice certificates to hand out (after signing each).

At the very end of the session, they asked me what kind of flowers I liked. Confused, I said that I was leaving tomorrow so getting flowers would not be the best idea. But that was not what they had in mind.

They asked me again and I said Shasta daisies. All of them then proceeded to wiggle their fingers like the petals of a flower and then clap their hands to give me their “bouquet.” They did the same with making a cake. It was very sweet.

They also wanted a group photo, which I’ve attached. You will see them holding their certificates with great pride.

They all helped me break down the room, which was very kind. Varsha Gloria invited me to go for tea afterwards, which was also very sweet of her. However, since I had the big suitcase, etc. to go back to the hotel, I had to thank her and beg off. It’s funny, I’d been calling her Gloria every day without her correcting me. It was only on this last day that I realized Gloria was her last name! I apologized, but she graciously didn’t seem to care.

I’ve attached one other photo that shows a woman walking with a heavy basket balanced on her head, viewed from the training room.

When I got back to my room, after my shower, I checked my email and saw that my credit union was checking up on my recent purchases. On the way back to the hotel, I had stopped at an ATM to get 57,200 KS (approximately $660) for James to pay him for the past two weeks. Thank goodness for Skype! I’ll be paying for the hotel, meals and laundry tomorrow. It would have been a nightmare if the credit union had frozen my account!

I spent the rest of the day packing, besides writing up my reports. I also asked for a late check out (6 p.m. instead of 10 a.m.) since James won’t pick me up to go to the airport until 7:45 p.m. My flight to Amsterdam leaves at 10:30 p.m.

Now, back to packing and an early night to bed. I don’t have any plans for tomorrow. I may just sleep in, to compensate for the sleep I won’t get for the next 36 hours.



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