Luxury Resorts are not for Kenyans: They cannot handle the Flush Toilets!

Mombasa has some of the best beach resorts in the world. In fact we can say that the best hotels in the west cannot match the quality of hotels on the long strip of what we call the Swahili coast. From the food, luxury, service and white sand beaches, Kenya has the best!
It is for this reason many Europeans escape from the frozen beaches in Europe to sunbath in Mombasa.  Cuba has some very cool beaches. It is the only country whose beach results offers full board and has a service that compares to Kenya. The people are not as friendly.
What makes Kenya great is not the buildings or the lay outs of the hotels. In fact I would argue that though the resorts are architecturally magnificent, it is the people who work there that make them best places to have a vacation. After visiting Mombasa for years, I decided to visit the residences of those people who work in these places. I wanted to see what It is that gives these Kenyans such a foundational sense of quality! On the South Coast, after visiting the KasKazi Beach Hotel, I accompanied one of the workers. What I saw was not just heart breaking but criminal.
Although these luxury hotels make millions of shillings a year, they treat the workers so inhumanly that it is amazing these employees still perform with such class and professionalism. The hotel has provided the workers with “housing”. The compound had overgrown grass and was a bleeding ground for mosquito. The “Apartments’ were one room stinch with nothing but walls. The toilets were out houses with no shower, no flush toilets and the last time they were painted was when Mzee Jomo Kenyatta was the president.
What shocked me was that these hard working Kenyans had families. The children played outside in these filthy areas. The rooms are so small that most of the married couples found it hard to divide the room in shukas. They got their water from an outside pipe that gave out salt water!
What is amazing is that while these Kenyans work in these beautifully constructed places with clean toilets, white towels, clean kitchens, swimming pools, and perfectly laid out dinning tables, their children grow up in housing units that are vested with garbage and mosquito!
I visited the Great Rift Valley Lodge in Naivasha to see whether it is different. I found that this resort worthy of a King, having hosted one of the British royal members, had a facility separate from the lodge designed for the Kenyan workers and not to the same standard. When I spoke to the management about the contradiction, I learned that they have logic to this sick philosophy. Accordingly, the Kenyan hotel management provides the workers with an environment fitting to their own standard! What?  In other words, since some of the workers, who by the way graduate from Utalii and other hospitality schools in Kenya are originally from Kingangop, Khumusalaba, Malanga, and yes Magina, and from homes where there was no running water, they do not qualify for modern affinities. Since some of them grew up in Mathare, Kibera, and Kawangware where the living conditions are filthy, the hotel owners keep them in their “familiar” environments.
Although they know how to use the modern toilets, the hotel owners are afraid that they are not smart enough to teach their children the same! This philosophy is prevalent in 90% of the Kenyan hotel industry. When in Mombasa, I spend my money in the 10% that treat these wonderful Kenyans with the dignity they deserve! These workers deserve to be treated with the dignity they treat the guests! For a list of these, email [email protected]
Teddy Njoroge Kamau (PhD), SYR Radio/TV, Director International Desk. IMANISHA. Listen to TNK on 91.1 Fridays on ATG Radio. 5pm EST

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