That vision thing again

I had a six handed massage this morning which was heavenly. Sammy was back and worked wonders on my painful feet and Lisa on my kinked shoulder muscles. I told her those came from a rough week. She managed to untangle things on the physical side.

After massage I picked up Pia from her guesthouse for a goodbye lunch. The drivers are always happy to see her because she reminds people of the previous MSH project that created some very strong bonds between staff up and down the hierarchy. She reminds me of Boston and the people I miss from there. She is on her way home to France and then to Boston. We have seen more of each other this five day trip than in most of her previous trips combined.

I decided to quite Paradise, or rather listening to Paradiso, where Dante is making his tour of the Celestial Bodies to learn more about heaven. Heaven is beyond me at the moment and the language too complicated as I walk my 6 kilometers on the elliptical machine. My mind is drifting off to other more urgent things than heaven.

I worked the entire afternoon, more preparations for the conference that some now call into question – postpone or cancel is being suggested by people who are questioning our readiness. Despite all the assurances that this event is important, the actions I observe around me make me think it is actually not all that important.

I signed 12.5 pounds of certificates before dinner – hundreds of them – while listening to Sherlock Holmes failing to prevent death or suffering two times in a row, unusual and humbling scenarios. There is something in the air about failing and humbling (I think it was papa Murdoch who said that his day in committee was his most humble day – an odd grammatical error for a man who made millions from writing.)

Because he arrives after I leave for work and he leaves before I return home, the cook and I have been communicating via notes written in Dari (by me) and English (by our housekeeper). I got an A+ for my last note which said that I was eating in a restaurant on Thursday night and therefore did not need him to make a meal but that I was going to be eating home over the weekend. I am quite proud of myself that I can do this now. In two days Steve will arrive and the cook will be delighted as Steve likes to eat real food, none of these silly salads I am asking him to prepare.

The cook did prepare me a wonderful meal with spinach-stuffed chicken breast slices, small quiche triangles and lots of vegetables. I enriched the meal with my first Kandahar melon – a delicacy beyond description and one thing about Afghanistan I will sorely miss.

Farid and his friends have been working on their tennis court for girls and managed to get some TV coverage, apparently. They have a facebook page on which people can follow their progress. The group is called First Tennis Court at Rabiye Balkhi – Help Needed!!! (yes, the !!! are part of the name of the group). It is wonderfully inspiring to see the enthusiasm that Farid has created around him. He does exactly what we teach in our leadership program – aligning and mobilizing people around a shared vision. If the vision is shared and the action owned you cannot go wrong.

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