Laurel and Associates, Ltd. – Madison, WI

Nairobi, Kenya

Nairobi, Kenya

On December 4, 2014, Posted by , In Travelogue, By , , With Comments Off on Nairobi, Kenya

Hello. Sorry to leave you hanging about my adventures on Wednesday. Bottom line, I had no voice, the participants seated themselves virtually on top of each other in two tables so they could hear me. They also began by whispering themselves until I pointed it out to them!

I did try to have one of the participants facilitate an activity, but he was incredibly directive rather than letting the participants volunteer answers. I had to jump in. Luckily, there were a lot of case studies, so they could work among themselves and then report out.

The class was about managing risk in a health environment: telephone protocols, pre-employment credentialing, poor medication management and lack of confidentiality. I can’t tell you how depressing it was to hear all of the unmanaged risks in the participant’s organizations. Each day provides more eye opening information for the participants.

At the very end of the class, a very sophisticated, knowledgeable and beautifully dressed older woman told the group that they needed to join her in a circle dance! And, by golly, everyone did. She called the song “doula” and we clapped saying doula at every other step, then she led off by making some funny movements and the rest of us had to duplicate it. Then back to stepping and clapping until the next person in line came up with a different funny movement, etc. All of the 12 participants kept it going until the end. I just marched and clapped, although I will admit to being tired by the time it was over. What a stitch!

It was difficult to get to the meeting because we had to drive by a university that had just graduated 8000 students. And for each of these students, most if not all came from outside Nairobi and had at least 12 family and friends there to see them graduate. It was easy to note the graduates because they were wearing black gowns with white piping and had green tinsel necklaces around their necks! Cars, buses, vans, trucks, you name it were parked everywhere and people were crossing the streets everywhere, so traffic could not move. Everyone was dressed to the hilt, in various native dress and smart designer clothes. One woman looked like she walked out of Paris, France with very high heels, chic clothing and a huge veiled hat!

On the way to the meeting scheduled afterwards with Strathmore University, I started coughing and asked James to drop me off at a supermarket so I could get something to drink. I selected a 1.25-liter bottle of bitter lemon soda, which I chugged the rest of the afternoon. I actually regained some of my voice by keeping myself lubricated.

Strathmore University is quite elite and their Business School is modeled after Harvard Business School. They bring in international lecturers. So I was mortified to realize that the deeply rutted bumpy dirt road we were on led to the University. James explained that someone who was responsible clearly wasn’t doing what he was paid for- to fix the road.

Although I had told Mbogo that I would need lunch before the meeting and he had said we could have a lunch meeting, there was no lunch. So I was sick, tired, and hungry for the meeting. However, the man we met with was very gracious (got us hot water in plastic cups and put lime in mine). His university is interested in taking over these 22 modules to help build capacity in small medical practices that have the potential for successful growth.

To give Mbogo credit, he was apologetic about the lack of lunch and wanted to take me to the cafeteria, but I knew I had shopping to do before I could go back to the hotel and have them call the doctor. Before we left, however, Mbogo talked to James about taking me on a circuit on Sunday to see baby giraffes, baby elephants and baby rhinos, as well as the markets.

After that, I had James take me to the supermarket so I could get more candy, since my 2-day supply had been completely consumed. I also wanted to get water, salt, and more of the bitter lemon soda. The place was huge and very crowded (more security for the car and for people entering the store). I wandered around for a while but eventually found what I wanted (although the candy came in small very expensive packages).

When I went to get lemons, they were in two separate places. A man was there to weigh them. He suggested that the lemon with ginger would be what I needed for my cold. So sweet.

I got in line to check out and when I was the 2nd from the cashier, a large woman in native dress holding an overflowing basket walked in front of me and parked herself calmly at the register! I guess that people are rude everywhere. Maybe I was so pale she didn’t notice me???

On the way back to the hotel, we saw large pockets of graduate’s families and friends partying in the median strips and on both sides of the road. I’ve attached a photo.

When I finally got back to the hotel after 6 pm with no lunch yet, I asked the hotel to call the doctor. He was a charming older East Indian who asked about my travels, my personal and my heath history. He gave me a check up and then prescribed five medicines, which included a liquid for a chesty cough. He also advised me to sit over a steaming kettle several times a day and to think healing thoughts.

He wrote down directions for each medicine, then asked me if I had seen any of the country. When I said no, he drew a map of Kenya and highlighted various places to visit, describing them with great love.

After he left, I called down to registration to see if they had a steaming kettle. They couldn’t understand what I was saying because of my voice, so they sent someone up- who kindly demonstrated to me that the coffee pot in my room would provide steam.

I participated in a Skype call, sent my laundry for cleaning, uploaded photos of flip chart work and mailed them to the participants, ate some soup and went to bed. I would usually have written to you, written a brief report, and prepared for the next day.

So, that is my story for Wednesday.



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