Sunday, June 6, 2010

I had a hunch

One of my field assistants (T) is phenomenal in the field, but consistently shows up late, especially when he is coming back from "town." He has also been having money problems. I loaned him some money to buy a motorbike (as it is in my interest as well for him to have one), but I wasn't able to see the motorbike before I left Ukenzagapia.

Shortly after returning, I heard from Sam that my field assistant is being a real pain in the ass and demanding another loan from Dr. K. because I didn't loan him enough to buy the motorbike. My other field assistant has been giving reports to Sam and Dr. K about the situation, but I'm supposed to feign ignorance of all this drama when I talk to them on the phone. It's all terribly complicated and everything I hear is 3rd hand.

Anyways, I've been having a hunch since the last month or so at Nyota that T a second wife & kid(s) in "town," but it's not exactly the kind of thing I can confront him about. He already has a wife and 6 kids in Nyota, but has so much trouble getting back to Nyota on time that I just think something is up.

I mentioned my hunch to Sam the other day, and it turns out I was right. He does have another wife (I'm sure not legally- but she probably has a kid or two and so now it is his responsibility to support them as well, so she's basically his second wife). Of course Sam didn't want to tell me this, but he says he's impressed that I figured it out on my own because it shows that I am really beginning to understand the culture.

Unfortunately, T isn't showing up to work (at least that's what I'm hearing from Sam via Dr. K and my other assistant). He has to repay the loan by paycheck deduction, but that doesn't work if he's not getting paid because he's not working. What a mess. And apparently, he's blatantly lying to me about buying a motorbike. What in the world can I do from here?

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