Friday, July 1, 2011


Tonight is my last night at the Lasjona Hotel and if I shed any tears over the matter, they will be tears of joy. The other night my fellow Rongo-based field coordinator asked where I thought we should have dinner and I replied, “well, Richard, my philosophy is A.B.L…. Anywhere. But. Lasjona.” He said this was a philosophy he could get behind.

It’s not that I expect four-star accommodations while working as a research assistant in rural Kenya. Rather, what’s annoying about the Lasjona is that it advertises itself as being semi-luxurious and is priced to match, and then fails to deliver in terms of the most basic amenities. As in, my toilet has been broken for the past week (albeit in a variety of new and intriguing ways each time someone tries to “fix” it). And on a number of days the hotel has lacked water – either for bathing or drinking. I would happily trade the mirrors and speakers embedded in my headboard for either of these more basic comforts.

Anyway, I am off to Nairobi tomorrow morning and am looking forward to a week of city life. I will be working at the Uwezo head office but should also have some time to explore. My goals include eating delicious, non-ugali-based meals (not that an ugali-based meal can’t be delicious, but I am craving a little variety), getting a pedicure and checking out some live music.

When I return I’m actually thinking of moving my home base to a different town. I’ve been thinking that it’s not just the Lasjona but Rongo itself that’s bringing me down. I was debating this with one of our interviewers, suggesting that maybe I just need to give Rongo a chance, and he responded, “No. Rongo is dead.” So I’m thinking I may move to Migori, a slightly bigger town about 40 km away, toward the Tanzanian border. I celebrated my birthday there yesterday and had a great time. Not only do a few friends and acquaintances stay there, it just seems to have a bit more going on than Rongo, and a variety of cheaper, seemingly nicer options for accommodation, all of which meet my primary qualification of being A.B.L. Plus there’s a disco and a Barclays Bank!

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