All’s well

I finished my last whole week at the MSH South Africa House. On Sunday I will drive myself in my spiffy red Hyundai to a nice resort outside Johannesburg which, according to the website, is in an old Hindu temple. I will spend the next two days after that facilitating my pharmacist colleagues – the ones who occupy the ground floor in MSH/Pretoria – as they transition from one big project to another. They have started on their fourth in a series of five year projects here in South Africa, from humble beginnings in newly post-Apartheid South Africa in the Eastern Cape. Having had the pharmaceutical team in my portfolio in Afghanistan helps me understand their world a bit better.

My little car is now filled with flipchart stands, papers, and conference packets – the travelling facilitator.

Before driving home in the pouring rain – it has been raining nonstop for 2 days now – I went to see the venue for the teambuilding next week. I had expected some dreary Holiday Inn kind of place but found myself back in time in an enormous old palace with the upper front part like a summer pleasure palace of the Louis XV variety and the lower part a Chinese emperor’s retreat. It was a total fantasy place and perfect for our retreat. But I haven’t made up my mind yet whether we want to do this in French or Chinese empire style…or may be one day each.

I had dinner at A’s place and met his lovely family, 3 delightful kids all in primary school still and his wife. We explored everything from favorite topics at school, what do you want to be when you grow up, who are you most like and some implied lessons about gender, power and next assignments. The parents stuffed my bag with meat pies and milk stout for the long and lonely weekend in my apartment.

Of course I won’t be lonely and it won’t be long. First on the program tomorrow is a long overdue haircut, then a massage and then a pedicure. The haircut was arranged by the office – I don’t think I have ever been so well looked after as by this project team.

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March 2012
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