Tell me a story

06 Jul

You know you are in Migori when you see a clinic named Mama Fridah clinic and not Dr. so and so it tells you where priorities are here…

I am in Migori County to carry out an evaluation and I need to visit at least ten respondents per day in select regions which are far apart, some over 30 km apart and have to ride a motorbike to the most interior. During this stay two people stood out, the first was the sixty year old lady (she didn’t want to tell me her age in the first place I should probably not say it too…). When we got to her home after the preliminaries I went on straight ahead with the questions. She is elusive and thinks my questions have a hidden (she had her daughter in-law pick one of my questionnaire just to confirm, you start picking up new words and can understand the basics after interaction with a community donge?). I see Ben Carson’s Gifted Hands in Swahili “Mikono iliyobarikiwa”,

Have you read that book?

Which church do you attend?


Not SDA?

No, you are avoiding my question!

Well, the book was recommended by our pastor and the congregation bought to go and read it, it is a church book.

No it’s not a church book, see I have read it but I am not SDA, but it a good book.

But we were told to get the book and read it from church! (Hey authors see that? Write motivational books or those palatable by the church and if your marketing is right get a bestseller! Okay did I bring business to the house of God? I take that back I don’t want Jesus to kick my ass.)

This soya and mandazis are delicious

My daughter makes them. Thanks. You should tell me stories, not just ask me these many questions. Tell me what is going on in Nairobi, that way this process becomes lively and more people like me will be more receptive to your questions and I won’t feel like I am in an exam!

I thought my mom had told her to say that, you see my mother is the conversational type and over the years I have learned to listen not just hear, however I can’t say the same applies on my side because I do not have much to say. But this has been changing she asks those calculated questions meant to open you up, but I still  find that I give what’s just enough or less.

The second was a gentleman in his late forties. We are mid interview and he stops me, goes inside and calls his eldest daughter, she is 20. He brings her to greet me, which I found amusing. I find myself thinking is he pulling strings? I say hi and when she returns to attending to some other guests we continue. He starts telling how his daughter can answer everything I need to know even when She is not the respondent I am looking for.  He derails me with every question I ask, dances with his answers returns questions back at me and finds ways to give me stories, I reckon this is what the other lady wanted, since he is the last person I need to see for the day I let him, very coy indeed. When we are through with the interview he goes to his farms and harvests several maize cobs for me, this is the true African hospitality not what Nairobians are used to, I share them with the driver and the hotel chef agrees to boil them for me, I must have surprised with my request for him to say no. Maize cobs with wet fried fish are not such a bad combination 🙂 but you have to ignore the shocked looks from other guests and dig into it like it was your last meal.

So who can teach me how to tell stories and lie a bit to give the stories some punch, I have this feeling that this skill may be the missing ingredient making me lose out on something which I haven’t put a finger on…


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3 responses to “Tell me a story

  1. Savvy Kenya (@savvykenya)

    July 7, 2014 at 11:00 am

    I do tell stories.. but prefer to listen especially if I am the one doing the interviews!

    • mackel9

      July 7, 2014 at 5:11 pm

      So will you teach me how to tell them, and tell them nicely that the audience wants just more and more? 🙂


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