Piles and smiles

Last night Axel and Tessa called me on Skype to talk about stuff. Could Tessa and Steve have our couch to furnish their new home? As of September 1 they will become islanders. Thye rented a small house with a yard in Lanesville (Gloucester). This means that Axel and I can move back into our house, me from Kabul and Axel from across the driveway, after having professionally removed the dog hair.

Then Tessa peeled off and I took Axel on a tour of his room in our guesthouse in Kabul to sort his clothes, medicine, books and stuff into various piles. As a result his suitcase if now packed, one of several I plan to take home with things we need before our shipment arrives, incha’llah, early January.

A restless night followed, fueled by a combination of David Copperfield and slimy Uriah Heap, to-do lists, work related stuff and, always, in the back of my mind, the chance of some conflagration or another someplace on my path.

The latter may have been the direct result of a sharp sound outside our gate that I thought to be a gun shot. I had listened closely for sounds that would tell me whether I was right or not, having Michael’s story about the invasion of his house to get at suicide bombers next door, still fresh in my mind. The sound of this being serious would be guards chattering on their walkie-talkies, more shots, an SMS on my phone – but there was none of that and all remained quiet. It must have been a car that backfired – but the experienced lodged in my mind for the night.

Overnight, after months of waiting, our project’s no cost extension was signed just at the same time that our headquarters told us to go full steam ahead with the close out. There were many big sighs of relief. Now comes the next hurdle: to get another extension signed in September so the project can continue to support the absorption of our activities and many of our staff into the ministry until next August and assure most of our nervous employees that everything will work out in the end.

Today was the second day of our leadership development program with the teams from HR. I watched with great contentment as I saw the sessions conducted in a very professional and energetic way. The facilitation team is working well together and everyone is learning from everyone else. The person who will house our program in his Directorate is energetic, committed and creative and I have a good feeling about this transition of my team into the ministry. And so, after agonizing for two years, it looks like we are making some good progress towards making management and leadership training an integral part of the ministry’s human resources strategy.

C. called this evening with the good news that a British school may take one of our SOLA students who didn’t get her US visa – we are keeping our fingers crossed for her and two others who still need a overcome a few more obstacles before they can board their plane to pursue their education for the good of Afghanistan.

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